Fatalities up at Kansas railroad crossings; troopers urge caution

TOPEKA, Kan.  – Experts are warning Kansans to pay more attention before crossing train tracks.

Tara Mays, executive director of Kansas Operation Lifesaver, says tragedies like this are more common than you may think.

“Once every 3 hours someone is hit or killed by a train in the United States,” said Mays. “Trains cannot swerve. They cannot stop quickly. In fact a train going 50 miles per hour is going to take more than a mile for that train to stop.”

Mays tells Topeka’s KSNT there were nine deaths on train tracks in Kansas in 2017. That’s more than twice as many as 2016.

That’s why Kansas Operation Lifesaver is working to educate people about the sometimes hidden dangers of train tracks.

Jordan Plachecki is a trooper with the Kansas Highway Patrol. Although you might drive over them every day, Trooper Jordan says many people don’t pay attention to train tracks.

“It’s important when you see tracks, think train,” said Trooper Jordan. “They can be deceptive as to how fast they’re actually traveling.”

Trooper Jordan says it’s important to remember that trains always have the right of way and walking on the tracks is considered trespassing.

You can find out more about Kansas Operation Livesaver, including ways to have a speaker come to your school or community group, by clicking here.   For Missouri, click here.