Thursday, April 28, 2011

Getting There -- Is It Worth Your Life?

Usually twice a week, my family and I cross the Union Pacific Railroad track on Highway 179 in Jefferson City on our way to and from church. Each time we hope we don’t get stopped by a train, but occasionally the lights flash, the bells sound and the gates go down to warn us that either the Missouri River Runner or a freight train is coming through. Sure it may be a little inconvenient and it may make us a few minutes late, but getting there – is it worth your life? No!

I have placed a solemn reminder to be cautious at highway-rail crossings on the bulletin board at our church. It’s a news clipping of a car smashed by a train at a nearby crossing. The driver did not survive. On Tuesday, I was delivering the same type of message, just much more directly. Volunteers from MoDOT, the Highway Patrol, Missouri Operation Lifesaver and I met at the Route 179 highway-rail crossing to conduct a Positive Enforcement Program - a key component of this year's Rail Safety Week on April 25-29. We stopped several motorists on both sides of the track to share some important rail safety tips. I hope you will also think about them every time you encounter a train or railroad tracks:

• Always expect a train.
• Never drive around gates when they are lowered.
• Never walk or play on railroad tracks, it’s dangerous and illegal.
• A train always has the right of way.
• Trains can’t stop quickly, so never try to beat one.
• Look, listen and Live!

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