The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police has asked for the Governor of the State of Illinois to declare September 11th to 17th as Illinois Rail Safety Week in order to promote vehicle and pedestrian safety around railroad tracks and trains. On May 24th, Governor Rauner issued a proclamation and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police is coordinating the third, statewide Illinois Rail Safety Week. In Illinois during 2015, there were 140 crossing collisions involving motor vehicles, which resulted in 79 injuries and 24 fatalities. In addition, there were 41 trespasser incidents which resulted in 18 injuries and 23 fatalities when people trespassed onto railroad property. During 2015, Illinois ranked 3rd in the nation in vehicle collision fatalities and 5th in the nation in trespasser fatalities.
To promote rail safety awareness and education, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office will be participating in Illinois Rail Safety Week. Deputies will enforce traffic laws throughout the week at various railroad grade crossings and commuter stations within Lake County to cite both drivers and pedestrians who disobey the laws associated with railroad grade crossings and railroad property. In addition, police officers will be distributing literature to the public that contains information on how to be safe around trains and train tracks.
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 50 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.