MDOT Rails Division representatives handed out information about crossing safety to local drivers at the Frost Street railroad crossing last Wednesday in downtown Hazlehurst.
Monica Ramsey, James Cushman, Daniel Johnson, William Spell, Allen Stringer, and state coordinator Kimbler Sloan were in town to promote MDOT’s Operation Lifesaver – Look, Listen and Live blitz.
The blitzes are held nine months of the year in several counties throughout Mississippi to increase awareness and reduce the number of deaths at crossings.
The events are a partnership between MDOT Rails Enforcement Officers, Canadian National North American Railway and local law enforcement agencies.
The Hazlehurst Police Department provided officers to help with the event, including officers Dwayne Williams and Tamra Beacham.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Mississippi is at the top of the list for reductions in grade crossing fatalities. In 2006, there were 13 highway-rail grade crossing fatalities in Mississippi, and in 2007 there were three. The decrease in the number of fatalities is a move in the right direction, signifying that public awareness is making a difference.
Trains cannot stop quickly. The average freight train weighs about 6,000 tons or 12 million pounds. A 150-car freight train’s stopping distance at 50 mph is 8,000 fet or 1 1/2 miles.
Mississippi Operation Lifesaver (MSOL) is a nonprofit organization that is working diligently to stop the needless deaths and injuries on or near highway rail grade crossings through educaiton, enforcement and engineering. Operation Lifesaver presentations are available free of charge to local schools and organizations. Please contact MSOL at 601-359-7539.