JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As the July 4th holiday approaches, CSX Corp. is reminding people to use common sense and extreme caution around railroad tracks and crossings.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, injuries and fatalities associated with trespassing on railroad property are significant, with nearly 1,800 fatalities in the past ten years. The rail safety education group Operation Lifesaver reports that a motorist is almost 20 times more likely to die in a crash involving a train than in a collision involving another motor vehicle. The chance of serious accidents increases during the summer, as children are out of school and people partake in recreational pursuits that lead them near railroad tracks.
CSX developed the “F.A.S.T.” program as part of its ongoing safety commitments, providing basic guidelines for public engaged in Fishing, Fireworks, ATV usage, Safety and Trespassing near rails and tracks. It is important to remember:
— Trains cannot stop quickly; in fact, a train takes more than a mile to come to a complete stop.
— Always expect a train to come by; they do not operate on a predictable schedule, and can move in either direction at any time.
— Trains overhang tracks by at least three feet on either side, and often even farther.
“People often underestimate the dangers of trespassing and playing on the railroad tracks,” said Cliff Stayton, CSX director of community affairs and safety and a former locomotive engineer. “Staying away from the tracks when enjoying summer activities, and remaining alert while near the tracks, is common sense and can prevent injuries and fatalities.”
CSX’s F.A.S.T. guidelines, along with its support of the industry “Common Sense” partnership with the Association of American Railroads and Operation Lifesaver, (www.commonsenseuseit.com) are two individual initiatives that are part of the company’s broader commitment to safety.
“One of our core values is that ‘Safety is a way of life,'” Stayton said. “We believe that understanding railroad safety is imperative for our employees and customers, but also for the members of the communities in which we live and operate.”