GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCBD) – Law enforcement is highlighting rail safety week, which is designed to show the public how to stay safe around railroad tracks.
Trooper Nick Pye with the South Carolina Highway Patrol says car versus train and car versus pedestrian collisions are all too common in the Lowcountry.
Charleston County leads the state in these types of crashes.
“Since 2018, Charleston County has had the highest number of vehicles versus train collisions in the state, as well as the second-highest number of trespassing incidents,” he said.
So, what can you do to stay safe?
“There’s no trespassing on the train tracks,” said Trooper Pye. “It’s private property, so as far as walking, things like that you can’t do that. It’s against the law. When these crossing arms go down it’s important that people obey the rules and stop. We all know what it means when those arms come down. It means a train is coming.”
“Trains are heavy. Trains cannot swerve to avoid something in front of them so it’s in our hands as motorists or pedestrians or cyclists to stay out of the path of a train,” said Janice Cowen, state coordinator for South Carolina Operation Life Saver.
Operation Life Saver is a nonprofit that promotes railway safety. She knows firsthand how train accidents can impact your life. Her mother was in a train accident as a teenager.
“She was in the backseat of a car and the driver went across the tracks in front of a train. She was thrown out of the back and hit a tree. She was unconscious but she got to go to her prom, in a wheelchair with sunglasses, but she did go to that prom.”
She said her mom’s incident was similar to others.
“I don’t think at the time that they knew it was happening. I think that happens often wear complacent with cross the railroad tracks, but we always must expect a train I’m sure they were talking having a good time, and just didn’t whistle approaching. So, you’ve got to make sure you’re looking and listening for that train and never trying to beat that train.”
Rail safely week takes place through September 26.