DOT urges people to stop trespassing on railroad tracks, driving around train gates

DOT urges people to stop trespassing on railroad tracks, driving around train gates
SXC

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation reported railroad crossing crashes are on the rise statewide.

Forty-six railroad crashes were reported in Wisconsin in 2016 — that number is up by 11 from the year before.

Within the last two years, four people were killed and 28 others were injured in the state because of railroad crossing crashes. DOT officials said all of these deaths and injuries could have been prevented.

Dave Simon, director of Railroads and Harbors at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, said more people are driving around gates because they don’t want to wait for trains to pass.

“They don’t realize how dangerous that is,” Simon said. “Trains come quickly, there’s a lot more trains than there were before.”

Simon said people are also trespassing on railroad tracks to go for walks or to take photos, which is illegal.

“A train is much wider than those rails, and wider than those ties. You could actually get hit by the train as you’re walking. It could come up behind you, you wouldn’t even hear it,” Simon said.

According to the DOT, eight people were killed and three others were injured while walking along railroad tracks last year.

Madison police will issue trespassers a citation of $92.50.

Wisconsin kicks off Rail Safety Week on Sunday, which focuses on preventing deaths involving train crashes.