Signals lead to action

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The train is coming… its shrill horn blasts… yet someone thinks they can beat the train and loses.

A car travels around a curve to a dark section of road across a railroad track. The driver doesn&8217;t see or hear the train and a crash occurs.

Train and vehicle crashes happen in scenarios such as those listed above and for various other reasons.

Unfortunately, Shelby County knows all too well the tragedy that can result when trains, cars and people converge.

Who is responsible for railroad safety?

The short answer is, we all are. Railroad companies, transportation officials, our state legislators and everyday citizens all play significant roles in making sure our communities stay safe.

A recent summit of rail industry company and transportation officials as well as legislators highlighted the need for educating the public, improving the lighting and guarding of train crossings and to reroute traffic from numerous redundant crossings &045; areas where the same track crosses a road twice within miles.

We believe this is an important first step to help solve a problem that has Alabama ranked as high as eighth in the nation for fatalities that result from vehicle and train collisions.

According to information provided at the summit, about $5 million is spent to improve about 30 train crossings per year, but there are about 2,000 crossings in the state.

That pace is not sufficient.

We hope the discussion held at the summit will lead to greater cooperation to save lives and to prevent railroad accidents