Railroad safety advocates hope task force will help public safety

Updated: May. 18, 2017 at 6:55 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Railroad safety advocates want drivers to understand when they come to a railroad crossing, they should think 'danger'.

"Based on 2016 statistics, we currently rank eighth in the nation for the number of vehicle train collisions and number eighth in the number of fatalities," Nancy Hudson, Alabama Operation Lifesaver program said.

The Alabama Task Force on Railway Safety was created recently to look at a variety of issues involving rail safety. This includes the transportation of hazardous materials and possible derailments which occurred in Aliceville back in 2013.

"If we were to have one of those issues in our cities or towns, of course we would have a major, major issue," Capt. Neil Fetner with the Clanton Police Department said.

The task force will also look at railroad cars blocking in neighborhoods or communities.

Still finding ways to protect the public from collisions remains a top issue. "Most of the time, I think we are just in a hurry and we are distracted. We are not really paying attention," Hudson said.

The task force has yet to meet - that should have occurred sometime in June. "We are hoping the task force will bring those issues to the fore front and we do a better job from public safety perspective as to educating the public," Fetner said.

Captain Fetner is also hoping coming out of the task force is a renewed effort across the state of Alabama to tell drivers when they come to these intersections to be careful.

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