Illinois declares Sept. 11-17 railroad safety week
Promoting pedestrian and driver protection, Gov. Bruce Rauner recently passed on a safety request from the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police by designating Sept. 11 through 17 as Illinois Rail Safety Week.
The proclamation followed a spate of statistics showing that 2015 was a dangerous one in Illinois, with 140 crossing collisions involving motor vehicles that killed 24 and injured 79. With 41 additional trespassing incidents — resulting in 18 injuries and 23 fatalities on railroad property — Illinois consequently ranked third nationwide in railroad-related collision fatalities and fifth in the nation in trespasser fatalities in 2015.
The city of Elmhurst will highlight the public awareness campaign with additional law enforcement personnel stationed near crossings and commuter stations to oversee traffic and distribute information on train track safety.
Citizens are reminded that stopping a vehicle anywhere inside railway crossing areas is illegal. If crossings are not already marked with white stop lines, drivers and walkers can estimate the boundaries of crossing zones by noting gate arm extension post locations.
This year, the four neighboring states of Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin will join Illinois to publicize Rail Safety Week. The event is sponsored by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.