By Alan Shope, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
WARRENSBURG, MO (KCTV) -
Last year, 13 people in Missouri were hit and killed by trains. This year that number sits at four, which is why the Missouri Highway Patrol went for a ride.
Loading up on a train is not the kind of place someone would expect to see a state trooper, but that's exactly where some of them were Wednesday hoping to spread the word about train crossing safety.
"When you see a train, you think it's coming in at a slow speed," said Sgt. Collin M. Stosberg. "They are so large and trains don't have brakes."
On Wednesday, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, along with Warrensburg police, took to the tracks as part of their "Information Lifesaver" campaign. Their goal is to convince drivers to be more alert at train crossings.
"It takes a train more than a mile to stop," Stosberg said. "If you see the stop arms coming or the lights activated, slow down and look - never try to beat the train."
And too many times, the train's conductor sees people try to beat a quickly approaching train and can't do much about it.
"There is very little - all they can do is sound the alarm warning, the horn, and hopefully the person will get out if the way," said John Simpson with Union Pacific.
But sometimes stopping at train lights can be a little more complicated. One driver pulled over Wednesday said she wanted to stop, but by the time she saw the flashing red lights, she was past the gate.
"I thought the safest thing for me to do was get through the intersection as quickly as possible, I was doing what I thought was the safest thing to do," driver Tara Jenesse said.
"People need to pay attention. The motto is ‘look, listen and live,' and far too many people are getting killed at these crossings," Stosberg said.
According to Union Pacific, someone is hit by a train every three hours nationally.
The highway patrol gave out five citations just in the amount of time KCTV5's Alan Shope was with them Wednesday morning.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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