The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (ILACP) has asked the Governor of the State of Illinois to declare September 24th to 30th as Illinois Rail Safety Week in order to promote vehicle and pedestrian safety around railroad tracks and trains. Governor Rauner issued a proclamation and the ILACP is coordinating the fourth, statewide Illinois Rail Safety Week in partnership with the Union Pacific and CN Railroads, along with support from state, county, and local law enforcement agencies, railroads, schools, and various private sector agencies. In addition, Operation Lifesaver has declared the same week as national Rail Safety Week, and the ILACP is proud to be part of the national effort. In Illinois during 2016, there were 101 crossing collisions involving motor vehicles, which resulted in 43 injuries and 24 fatalities. In addition, there were 41 trespasser incidents that resulted in 19 injuries and 22 fatalities when people trespassed onto railroad property. During 2016, Illinois ranked 2nd in the nation in vehicle collision fatalities and 7th in the nation in trespasser fatalities.
To promote rail safety awareness and education, the Riverside Police Department will be participating in Illinois Rail Safety Week. Enforcement details are planned throughout the week at various railroad grade crossings and commuter stations within Riverside 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 86 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.