Train Fatalities May Be Headed Down

If you've lived on the Coast for any length of time, chances are good you've crossed a train's path. That's why Operation Lifesaver volunteers are handing out railroad crossing safety tips.

"It's basically just another form of education where we can heighten the awareness of the dangers at highway rail grade crossings," Operation Lifesaver member Marilyn Davis said.

"A lot of times, we see people that has their minds somewhere else and cross the railroad tracks and don't even think about it, and so what we're doing is just mainly calling attention to rail crossings," CSX Public Safety Director Ron Owens said.

Safety crossing blitzes are held all over the state at least once a month.

"Along the Coast is one of the areas that we're targeting, because there is so much traffic here and so many crossings here," Owens said.

In fact there are 144 crossings in the 66-mile stretch of tracks along the Coast from the Alabama to the Louisiana State line.

"That's too many crossings, more than any other 66 miles that we have on our entire system," Owens said

Owens says closing some of the crossings would reduce the number of rail road crossing incidences even further.

"In the past Mississippi was ranked eighth nationally as it pertains to the number of collisions," Davis said. "The good news is the preliminary numbers indicate that we're 11th. We've also had the lowest number of total collision and the total reported fatalities that we've had in over 10 years."

So far this year, Mississippi has had nine railroad-related fatalities. Five of those deaths were people walking or sitting on the tracks.

If you want learn more about Operation Lifesaver or to contact them check out the group's Web site or call them at 1-800-537-6224.