|MADISON, WI, May 15, 2013 Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker proclaimed Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 as “Operation Lifesaver Awareness Day” here in the State of Wisconsin. To commemorate this day, Wisconsin & Southern Railroad joined forces with local law enforcement agencies to promote awareness and safety at at-grade railroad crossings in Dane County.
On Wednesday, May 15th, WSOR hosted an “Officer on the Train” program for local law enforcement officials through Madison and Middleton, WI. A freight train operated from the rail yard near Johnson Street in Madison with local law enforcement officers inside the locomotive cab. The train passed through UW campus to Middleton.
Officers monitored for illegal driver and trespasser behaviors along the route, including: vehicles not stopping for gates and lights, drivers driving around activated gates, drivers not yielding to oncoming trains, and pedestrian and bicyclists trespassing. Several violators were cited and provided with education. “It’s encouraging to know that our local law enforcement partners realize the importance of enforcing the laws regarding both pedestrians and motor vehicle operators on and around railroad property” said Matthew Koser, Trainmaster at Wisconsin and Southern Railroad.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), last year, there were 43 highway/railroad grade crossing crashes in Wisconsin. Those crashes resulted in four deaths and 12 injuries. Also reported were 3 pedestrian incidents on or near railroad tracks in 2012, resulting in two deaths and 1 injury.
It takes the average freight train, traveling at 55 mph, more than a mile to stop,” said Susan Klinger, state coordinator of Operation Lifesaver. “Trains cannot stop quickly enough to avoid a collision, so drivers need to slow down, look and listen before crossing the tracks.”
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