Billboards Designed to Make Motorists Think Twice Before Racing Trains
Nashville, TN – The Tennessee Department of Transportation is launching a new safety campaign aimed at eliminating tragic collisions, fatalities and injuries at the state’s 2,815 public at-grade railroad crossings. New billboards and posters will be installed near high traffic railroad crossings across the state to remind drivers and pedestrians to make safe decisions at crossings and around railroad tracks.“More than seven hundred fatalities occurred in the U.S. last year as a result of vehicle-train collisions,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “Those statistics are proof we need to intensify our efforts to educate the public about taking unnecessary risks at railroad crossings.”
As part of the safety campaign, sixteen billboards and 94 large digital posters will be displayed now through late 2013 at rotating locations near railroad crossings with high traffic volumes. The program is funded through the “Ton Mile Tax,” which are funds collected by TDOT from railroads that operate within the state and earmarked specifically for safety related programs.
In the last two years, there have been 95 vehicle-train collisions in Tennessee, killing five people and injuring 26 others. So far in 2011, one person has died in a vehicle-train collision. According to Operation Lifesaver, more than 450 people in the U.S. were killed while trespassing on tracks last year, an 8.2% rise in trespassing fatalities since 2009.
Train and Railroad Crossing Facts
- Average train weighs 12 million pounds
- Weight ratio of a train to car is about 4,000-to-one, or that of a car to an aluminum can
- A train traveling 50mph and pulling 100 cars takes one mile to stop
- Majority of vehicle-train collisions occur when trains are traveling at less than 35mph
- Nearly 2/3rds of all collisions occur during daylight hours.
For more information on TDOT’s Rail Regulatory and Safety office, please visit www.tdot.state.tn.us/maintenance/railregulatory.htm.