Last year there were 134 accidents resulting in 24 deaths at rail road crossings in Illinois and the state along with law enforcement are aiming to cut those numbers down through improved driver awareness.
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -
Illinois has the second most railroad crossings in the country, only behind Texas.
This week is 'Rail Safety Week' in Illinois. Last year there were 134 accidents at rail road crossings in Illinois and 24 deaths according to the Illinois Commerce Commission.
In addition, there were 29 deaths that resulted from people trespassing on the tracks.
Illinois State Police Trooper Mike Kindhart says trains and railroad crossings are a danger that we must take more seriously.
"That's why the awareness is so important to get out, whether it's in the rural areas where you may have some of those blind crossings or whether it's out in the middle where everyone can see," he said. "We have buses, we have hazmat that are mandatory, that have to stop at those crossings, so we need to be aware of those situations."
Surprisingly, the majority of accidents take place at intersections with working lights and cross bars according to the ICC.
Kindhart says that indicates a lack of driver awareness, which has become a problem all across U.S. roadways.
"Whether or not it has the lights or has the arm bars that go down, taking a look and taking a glance around in those situations will keep you much safer."
To promote rail safety this week, police will be keeping a close eye on rail crossings and even riding along with train conductors.