The Lake County Sheriff’s Office will partner with the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, Operation Lifesaver, along with the railroad industry, and numerous local Illinois law-enforcement agencies to promote Rail Safety Week September 22 – September 28.
In Illinois during 2018, there were 86 collisions at public highway-rail crossings involving motor vehicles or pedestrians, which resulted in 26 injuries and 15 fatalities. In addition, there were 40 trespasser incidents that resulted in 18 injuries and 22 fatalities when people trespassed onto railroad property. During 2018, Illinois ranked 3rd in the nation in collision fatalities and 5th in the nation in trespasser fatalities.
During Rail Safety Week, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting additional enforcement and educational details at railroad crossing across Lake County.
Sheriff John Idleburg said, “Nearly every death or injury occurring at a railroad crossing is preventable. It is extremely reckless and illegal to go around railroad gates or attempt to cross when the red lights are flashing. Don’t risk death, wait until all warning signals have stopped before crossing!”
Please remember, not only is it against the law to stop your vehicle on railroad tracks, it is also against the law to stop your vehicle anywhere within the highway-rail grade crossing. Highway-rail grade crossings are typically marked by white stop lines located on the pavement in advance of the crossing, and if not marked by white stop lines, the highway-rail grade crossing extends from protective gate arm to protective gate arm.
According to Illinois Operation Lifesaver, more than 85 percent of all collisions occur at crossings with active warning devices (flashing lights, gates, and ringing bells). For more information about Illinois Rail Safety Week, please visit www.illinoisrailsafetyweek.org or contact the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.