Editor, Commonwealth:

With the beginning of the school year right around the corner, it is crucial for everyone to remember the importance of safe behavior around railroad tracks. Every single day in 2013, someone died as a result of trespassing on railroad tracks. In fact, in 2018 there were 12 tragic deaths in our state, according to safety data provided by the Federal Railroad Administration.

The only safe and legal place to cross the tracks is where there is a designated crossing. Beyond the legal ramifications of a fine or ticket, there is also a very real risk of serious injury and possible death any time you attempt to beat a train or walk anywhere within the railroad right-of-way.

Every time you take a shortcut through the train yard, climb through or under a train that has been sitting there for a while or drive around the crossing arms that are down, you’re exposing yourself — and train crews — to a lifetime of suffering for the possibility of saving a few minutes. It’s just not worth it. Don’t forget, too, that train tracks were never designed for fishing, hunting, ATVing or any other recreational activity. Even if a train isn’t there, your risk for injury in the track gauge is enormous.

Please help us spread the railroad safety message of Mississippi Operation Lifesaver by being a rail safety role model. Always cross at designated crossings and tell your friends and family to do the same. Never allow distractions to take your attention away when you’re around train tracks. Remember, alcohol and train tracks make for a deadly mix. Log on to SeeTracksThinkTrain.org and start educating yourself about rail safety and share what you learn with someone.

Kimbler Sloan
Executive Director
Mississippi Operation Lifesaver

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