Omaha, Nebraska: Union Pacific presses home the crossing safety message to agriculture sector

19 Oct

LXinfoImage146-UPlogo-sourceUPUnion Pacific Railroad (UP) has again reiterated  its crossing safety messages to the agricultural sector that is to be found around its rights of way across the USA west of the Mississippi. Many fields are adjacent to UP tracks and producers often use private level crossings to travel from field to field. UP urges producers to stay safe when crossing the tracks while they are working in the fields during this year’s harvest.

UP shares its commitment to public safety through various channels such as community events, media outreach, law enforcement partnerships and collaboration with Operation Lifesaver.  The UP CARES (Union Pacific Crossing Accident Reduction Education and Safety) public safety initiative brings together communities in a collaborative and caring effort to promote railroad grade crossing and pedestrian safety.

“As agriculture producers harvest their crops this year, we want to remind them to approach railroad crossings with caution and take the extra time to be sure a train is not near because you never know when a train will come along,” said Robert Morrison, UP Chief of Police.

To increase awareness of railroad safety during harvest, UP safety team members have provided elevator operators in Nebraska with grade crossing safety information in the form of a visor card that is attached to a weigh scale ticket holder. Drivers are then given the safety information when they receive their weigh ticket.

“It can take a mile or more to stop a train and by the time a locomotive engineer sees you on the track, it would be too late,” said Lawrence Wenko, UP director – Public Safety.

“Locomotives and rail cars overhang the tracks by at least three feet on either side of the rail and loose straps hanging from rail cars may extend even further. If your combine or tractor are too close to the tracks, you can be hit by the locomotive or a rail car,” added Wenko.

Union Pacific has reduced grade crossing accident rates by 15 percent from 2003 – 2013. UP CARES initiatives promote pedestrian and driver safety through a variety of outreach efforts:

  • Grade crossing education and enforcement, during which motorists violating rail crossing signage and laws are educated about the dangers of such actions. Related “positive enforcement” initiatives reward drivers who operate safely at grade crossings.
  • Safety trains, which host local law enforcement, media and public officials and provide them the opportunity to ride in the locomotive cab and see traffic violations from a locomotive engineer’s point of view. This activity also allows Union Pacific to connect with community leaders and help them better understand the railroad’s focus on safety.
  • Communication blitzes, which educate the public via community events, media outreach and paid advertising. Media outreach coincides with safety trains in UP communities.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, 250 people died and 943 were injured in 2013 as a result of grade crossing incidents across the United States.

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