Railroad crossing safety a top concern for Gulfport cops - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Railroad crossing safety a top concern for Gulfport cops

Operation Lifesaver Mississippi, Kansas City Southern Railway, and the Gulfport Police Department teamed up Wednesday for a program called Cops on the Train. (Photo source: Facebook/Operation Lifesaver) Operation Lifesaver Mississippi, Kansas City Southern Railway, and the Gulfport Police Department teamed up Wednesday for a program called Cops on the Train. (Photo source: Facebook/Operation Lifesaver)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

If you've ever tried to beat a train at a rail crossing, that's one time too many.

That's why Operation Lifesaver Mississippi, the Gulfport Police Department, and Kansas City Southern Railway have teamed up to begin an educational campaign designed to keep drivers safe at the tracks.  

A few observations in the classroom are shared before officers taking part in the program called Cops On A Train board the locomotive.

What they see is telling. Just ask Sgt. Elfren Acosta with the Gulfport Police Department.

“We do see numerous people that try to cross the tracks before the train gets there, because they're usually in a rush or they don't want to wait. They'll try to beat or cheat the rail crossing lights,” Acosta explained. 

That happened at one intersection. With the warning bells clanging, a car sped by anyway. Why? Sgt. Damon McDaniel has an answer.

“A lot of people think they have that superhero mentality that, 'It won't happen to me,' and 'I can beat the train.' That's the goal of this operation...to actually raise awareness that people need to pay attention a little bit better,” McDaniel said.

When they don't pay attention, the outcome is usually not very good, according to Acosta.

“The chances are pretty high that there's going to be a fatality. The majority of train accidents I’ve worked have seen a high rate of fatalities,” said Acosta.

When it comes to car/train collisions, you'd be surprised where the vast majority of them occur. Let's just say it's on familiar territory. Kimbler Sloan is with Operation Lifesaver Mississippi.  

“Most of the people who are injured or there are incidents is taking place close to their homes or their places of work, because they become complacent at the crossings,” said Sloan. 

If there's a collision between these multi-ton iron horses and your car, the outcome is certain for Acosta.

“The train will always win.”

Gulfport patrol officers will be keeping a close eye on the tracks for the next several weeks, handing out citations and warning drivers to pay attention at the crossings.

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