Is It Time to Talk Railroad Safety to Kids in FoCo?
In The City of Fort Collins, there are three major railroads that run in close proximity to pedestrians: Burlington-Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), Great Western and Union Pacific. With these trains running closely by schools and businesses, It's becoming more and more vital for parents to discuss proper safety measures with their kids.
Safe Kids Worldwide's Senior Research Associate, Mark Chandler, told "Tuned In to NoCo" that every five days a child nineteen and under is killed in a collision with a train, and for every death, three more children suffer severe injuries. Due to this research and the nearly 3,000 railroad crossings throughout the state of Colorado, Chandler says it's vital for parents and children to take the necessary precautions, but a lot of times they don't.
"We found that even with parents that live in areas that are heavily trafficked by trains, this is really not a salient or top-of-mind issue for them despite these numbers"
Chandler says this is why Safe Kids Worldwide is out to educate everyone on the two main ways railroad injuries/fatalities happen and how they can be prevented.
"The first is through railroad crossing incidents, and this is where a driver or pedestrian goes around the gates or they speed up if they see that the gate is closing and they want to beat that train instead of waiting in traffic...Folks oftentimes don't realize that these trains are very heavy — several thousand tons and they can take up to a full mile to stop. That's the length of 15 football fields and by the time a conductor sees someone, a person or a vehicle, on the tracks it's often too late to stop."
Chandler says the second way is actually the most frequent way these unfortunate incidents happen, and it's through trespassing.
"A lot of times teenagers will wear headphones when they are walking on the tracks and they don't realize that trains are a lot quieter today than they used to be in the past — they don't have the clickety-clack sounds that they made. So they are likely to not hear the train coming. Also, trains are a lot wider than the tracks as well, by about 3 feet on either side. There are kids and adults alike that have the misperception that if you are not walking directly on the tracks that you're safe, but that's actually not the case."
Ultimately, Chandler says, whether you're listening to music, taking photos or just simply walking on the tracks, railroads are considered private property too. So it's not only dangerous to participate in these activities but it's illegal as well.
For more information about railroad safety click here.
To listen to the full interview, check out the link below.