AAA Texas reminds drivers and pedestrians during Rail Safety Week (Sept. 20-26) about the importance of being safe around train tracks. Texas ranks highest for the number of train collisions in the country, according to the latest full-year statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration. According to the FRA, in 2020, Texas recorded 191 highway-rail incidents. That number decreased from 2019, however, the number had previously been on the rise since 2016, before the pandemic. The FRA counted 11 highway-rail casualties in Texas for 2020, which is fourth highest in the country.
According to the FRA, Harris County had the greatest number of highway-rail incidents totaling 28 in 2020, followed by Tarrant with 16, Bexar with eight and Dallas with seven.
“Texas continues to rank highest for the total number of train collisions, therefore, it is important to remind drivers and pedestrians to stay safe around train tracks,” said AAA Texas spokesperson Joshua Zuber. “When you encounter a train crossing, whether driving or walking, always take extra precautions.”
The Texas Department of Transportation says in a collision with a train, you are 40 times more likely to be killed than in a collision with another car.
Staying safe around train tracks
TxDOT recommends drivers:
- Slow down when approaching crossings and look both ways.
- Turn down your stereo and listen for a train.
- If red lights are flashing or if crossing arms have been lowered, stop.
- Never stop on the tracks. A train going 50 miles per hour needs more than a mile to stop.
- Be sure all tracks are clear before crossing - there may be more than one set.
- Texas law requires motorists to yield the right of way to trains. It is also against the law to cross tracks if a train is visible or to drive around gates that have been lowered at a railroad crossing. If the gates are down and no train is coming, the road is closed.
Operation Life Saver recommends:
- Only cross at a designated public crossing area.
- Do not cross tracks immediately after a train passes as there may be a second.
- Obey all signs and warning lights/signals at a crossing.
- Trains run at all hours, so always use caution.
- Stay alert by avoiding distractions, such as using cell phones.
- If you stall on the tracks, get everyone out and run far from the tracks. Call law enforcement or locate the Emergency Notification System sign and call the number provided.
Visit https://oli.org/safety-near-trains for more information about safety near trains.
About AAA: AAA provides more than 62 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of independently owned motor clubs and nearly 1,000 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, AAA has been a leader and advocate for the motorist and safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. AAA Texas branch offices throughout the state can be found by visiting www.AAA.com. Follow AAA Texas on Twitter: @AAATexas and Facebook: www.facebook.com/AAATexas.