CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) launched a $5.6 million campaign trying to decrease the number of people killed at railroad crossings.
“In 2018 alone, 270 people were killed at railroad crossings. Of those, 99 people died after the driver went around lowered crossing gate arms,” according to a news release from the Department of Transportation (DOT).
Ohio had the 9th most railroad collisions at 75 in 2018, and the 10th most deaths at nine according to FRA statistics.
Not all railroad crossings have gates and lights.
Some have only a stop sign and whats called the “cross bucks” which is the yellow sign with “RXR” symbol.
The numbers show it may not matter if every crossing had lights and gates, there would still be fatalities.
In 2018, six of Ohio’s nine deaths were at crossings with gates.
There were only two deaths at crossings with just a stop sign.
One death was at a crossing equipped with flashing lights, where the train was already going through the crossing, and the vehicle drove into the side of moving rail cars.
Part of the campaign, titled “Stop. Trains Can’t,,” is a new commercial that sets up a mock crash using a mix of real and fictitious footage from inside a train, a 911 call, and an SUV making the wrong move around lowered crossing gates.
“So many fatalities at highway-railway crossings are preventable, and this campaign is key to raising public awareness and saving lives,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.