April 17, 2009

Florida kicks off ‘Train Safety Awareness Week’

The fourth annual “Train Safety Awareness Week” will take place Sunday, April 19 through Saturday, April 25, as proclaimed by Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

 

The week has been set aside to raise public awareness about the laws and hazards of being on or near, railroad tracks, particularly at road crossings.

 

During the week, officers from approximately 20 different law enforcement agencies from North Palm Beach to Miami will join staff members and volunteers from the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority/Tri-Rail, Amtrak, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Florida Department of Transportation, Operation Lifesaver and the Wackenhut Corp. in distributing information about train safety. Local law enforcement personnel will enforce zero tolerance during the week, and will be issuing citations and traffic tickets to motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists violating state statutes at railroad crossings throughout South Florida, with fines ranging anywhere from $190 to $1,000.

 

The push toward raising the public’s awareness about train safety awareness could not come at a more critical time for South Florida. As Governor Crist mentions in his proclamation of Train Safety Awareness Week, more than 500 highway-rail grade crossing accidents resulting in 190 personal injuries and 80 fatalities have occurred throughout the state of Florida in the last five years. National statistics show that in the U.S., every two hours a train will collide with a person, car or some form of obstruction. According to statistics provided by the FRA, Florida is ranked number two (along with California) for vehicular fatalities and number four for pedestrian/trespasser fatalities at highway rail-grade crossings.

 

After Train Safety Awareness Week is over, the educational process will continue. Operation Lifesaver presenters are available to schedule appearances in schools and throughout the community. These presentations can be tailored to any age and are available in English or Spanish.

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