Railroad Companies, Local Law Enforcement Promote Safety Near Tracks

SALLISAW (KFSM) -- Local police and railroad companies are teaming up to remind drivers about safety at railroad crossings, especially those without safeguards in place.

“Be aware of the signs and the signals,” Sherry Soliz said. “Not all crossings are marked with gates and the flashing lights.”

A train traveling 55mph takes at least a mile to stop, which is equivalent to 18 football fields.

“When that train crew sees somebody on the tracks, it's too late,” Soliz said. “They cannot stop. All they can do is go in emergency breaking and hope for the best.”

Soliz, with Oklahoma Operation Lifesaver, said that’s why drivers need to remember trains always have the right-of-way.

Also taking part in the training were the Kansas City Southern Railway Company, Union Pacific, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the Sallisaw Police Department and the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Office.

“I basically will ride the train and report violations that I see to the officers that's on the street that are set up close to the crossings,” Sheriff Ron Lockhart said.

Police looked for cars plowing through railroad crossings as the train was coming. They also were on guard for trespassers.

“Those folks are in for a surprise today unfortunately, but possibly we will save somebody's life in the future by marking them more aware,” Soliz said.

In all, police wrote a total of 21 citations and made two arrests for people driving with suspended licenses and made two arrests for people driving with suspended licenses. Several people got warnings for trespassing on railroad property.