Nacogdoches Police checking motorists on rails

BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - By Donna McCollum - email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Then there are the drivers distracted by conversation, satellite radios and now texting.

A mission shared by Union Pacific and Nacogdoches Police.

"What we'll be looking for is just people that are going to disregard the lights," Officer Logan Finch said.

And it didn't take long to observe a violator.

The driver could be fined $150. Hopefully, they'll be safer next time.

"A car being hit by a train is equivalent to a car running over a soda can," Roger Rhoderick with Union Pacific said.

According to Federal Railroad Administration statistics, 246 highway-rail grade crossing fatalities occurred in 2009. Texas had the second highest with 23 deaths.

The number of collisions is much greater with over 18-hundred across the nation. Texas led the nation with 177 highway-rail grade crossing collisions.

"There are people rear ending other cars when one stops, but the others don't or striking the warning signal poles," Lt. Dan Taravella said.

Deer don't know any better to stay off the tracks, but motorists should. They need to learn the laws and obey them.

"When the lights are flashing and the bells are ringing they're required to stop and remain stopped at that point," Finch said.

A pretty simple law that comes with lots of reminders to stop when there is a train coming.

Union Pacific has trained presenters who can give talks on train safety. They can teach adults and children. Arrangements can be made through the Lufkin Union Pacific office.

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