RALEIGH, N.C. — A new rail safety training program seeks to save more lives by preventing people from trespassing on railroad tracks.
BeRailSafe, the N.C. Department of Transportation Rail division’s railroad safety education and outreach unit, is working with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction to offer the new train-the-trainer program for instructors who teach courses to high school students interested in public safety careers.
“It’s critical we get this information to as many people as possible to make people aware of the dangers of trespassing on railroad tracks,” says Ain Flowers, NCDOT’s BeRailSafe program coordinator. “Our No. 1 goal is to save lives by preventing people from trespassing on railroad tracks. It’s illegal and it’s dangerous.”
Last month, staff from NCDOT’s BeRailSafe Program and NCDPI started training high school instructors who teach Career and Technical Pathways Education, or CTE, courses. The training will enable instructors to inject basic rail safety and general railroad awareness about private property and trespassing behaviors and incidents into courses on emergency management, firefighter technology, 911 operations, the law and emergency medical technology.
In addition to the new course, the BeRailSafe program provides free rail safety training in all 100 counties of North Carolina to police, fire and 911 dispatchers as well as town and city planning and administration departments. Staff with the outreach program also promote rail safety statewide at festivals and events.
To prevent tragedies, BeRailSafe reminds people to follow these safety tips:
- Only cross railroad tracks at public crossings designated with either flashing red lights, a gate or a rail crossing sign.
- All railroad tracks are private property so people should never walk or bike on or near tracks. Trespassers can be arrested or fined – this includes walking or taking photos on the tracks.
- Tracks are not a shortcut. Never walk or bike on or near railroad tracks.
- Don’t drive around lowered gates at railroad crossings.
- Never stop a car on the railroad tracks. If stopping for a train at a traffic signal, be sure to stop safely behind the white line.
- If your vehicle gets stuck on the tracks, get out and call the number on the blue and white sign posted on the crossing gate.
- It is important for parents to educate their kids to not walk, play or be on railroad tracks for any reason. It is illegal and dangerous.
Those interested in requesting a presentation from BeRailSafe can reach out to the program through their contact page.