Transportation

Railroad Officials Issue Safety Appeal To Truck Drivers

Texas continues to lead the nation in the number of crashes at railroad crossings. As the state observes Train Safety Awareness Month, officials say truck drivers need to be especially careful.

On an average day, hundreds of big rigs pour through the gates of the Greens Port Terminal in east Houston. To get there they have to cross over one of the port’s short-haul railroad tracks. And there’s an ominous warning sign telling them to expect moving rail cars at any moment.

Dalton Tingle is with the safety organization Operation Lifesaver of Texas. He says when truck drivers come up on a railroad crossing, they have to make sure they can get their rig all the way across without having to stop.

“It’s hung low,” says Tingle. “And they could get hung up on those crossings. But there are signs at these crossings that lets them know there is a danger at these crossings and they need to be more aware.”

And Carolyn Cook with the Federal Railroad Administration says everyone who crosses a railroad track needs to be aware, and that includes walkers and cyclists.  

“So if you see the train approaching, the very safest thing to do is wait for the train,” says Cook. “The train has the right of way but also a train is a very large object and it can take a mile or more to stop.”

In 2016 there were 232 crashes around Texas involving vehicles and trains. 22 people were killed.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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