Motorists bear some responsibility at railroad crossings

Motorists bear some responsibility at railroad crossings

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Low clearance signs posted just feet from the railroad tracks are a warning to those driving large vehicles, tractor trailers, or buses, that they may not make it over the tracks.

Cary Plummer is a charter bus driver. He says drivers undergo extensive training to prevent incidents such as Tuesday's tragic accident; which left four people dead.

"The standard procedure is to make sure you have your clearance. First and foremost, check your signage to make sure that buses are allowed," said Plummer. "Some places will have no trucks allowed, no buses. You understand that the distance between the axles. If it's a steep incline, it could put you at a very vulnerable position."

About 2,500 vehicles travel over the Main Street crossing each day, according to Gulf Regional Planning. National Transportation Safety Board officials say Tuesday's accident was the first fatal one at the crossing since 2003.

"As unfortunate as this incident is, and as bad as we feel, there is responsibility among motorists and the responsibility is to stop at rail crossings," said City of Biloxi spokesperson Vincent Creel.

With just more than eight miles of rail in Biloxi, there are 29 crossings; 20 east of Keesler Airforce Base.

"All of the crossings we have are bunched in this one area right here. So what can we do? We want to do everything that we can do that will have an impact," added Creel.

The city recently identified several crossings they want to close to enhance safety. Main Street was not on that list due to the high traffic volume.

Creel says it's his understanding that CSX is responsible and in control of from the center of the rail, 50 feet to the north, and 50 feet to the south.

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