The State of Illinois, with support from the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, Illinois Commerce Commission, Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Operation Lifesaver, Illinois Sheriff’s Association, and the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association, has declared September 14 – 20, 2014 as Illinois Rail Safety Week in order to promote vehicle and pedestrian safety around railroad tracks and trains. In Illinois during 2013, there were 126 crossing collisions involving motor vehicles, which resulted in 40 injuries and 21 fatalities. Additionally, there were 52 trespasser incidents that resulted in 27 injuries and 25 fatalities when people trespassed on railroad property. During 2013, Illinois ranked 3rd in the nation in both vehicle collision fatalities and trespasser fatalities.
To promote rail safety awareness and education, the West Chicago Police Department will be participating in Illinois Rail Safety Week. Enforcement details are planned throughout the week at various railroad grade crossings and the Metra commuter station within the City of West Chicago to cite drivers and pedestrians who disobey the laws associated with railroad grade crossings and railroad property. In addition, police officers will be distributing literature to the public that contains information on how to be safe around trains and train tracks.
Please remember, not only is it against the law to stop your vehicle on the railroad tracks, it is against the law to stop your vehicle anywhere within the highway-rail grade crossing. Highway-rail grade crossings are typically marked by white stop lines located on the pavement in advance of the crossing, and if not marked by white stop lines, the highway-rail grade crossing extends from protective gate arm to protective gate arm.
According to Illinois Operation Lifesaver, more than 50 percent of all collisions occur at crossings with active warning devices (flashing lights, gates, and ringing bells). When crossing railroad tracks, you must always obey the law and be aware of your surroundings. For more information about Illinois Rail Safety Week, please visit www.illinoisrailsafetyweek.org.