Monday, October 29, 2012

Merced County Proclaims October as Railroad Safety Month

Merced County is where two of California’s major railroads, BNSF Railway and Union Pacific, continuously rumble down to deliver freight to far destinations.

Incidentally, approximately 103 accidents happen annually in California, more than half of which ends in deaths, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. Other than that, the data also revealed that California was listed as the state with the most number of railroad trespassing incidents last year.

During a meeting last Tuesday, Merced County officials voted unanimously to pass an item proclaiming October as Railroad Safety Month.

Basically, such campaign is being conducted to spread awareness to the public.

According to one of the campaign’s advocates, Supervisor John Pedrozo, he, on behalf of his other colleagues, wants people to remember how important it is to stay off railroad tracks and observe the law.

Moreover, Pedrozo disclosed that the said initiative was kept alive by a former railroad employee from Bakersfield, Bob Alexander, who was very dedicated in educating people about the importance of train safety. In fact, Alexander was actually working with a non-profit organization, Operation Lifesaver, before he died last March.

Operation Lifesaver was founded in 1972 to spread awareness to communities over the state regarding rail safety and reduce accidents, injuries, and fatalities.

Advocates of the said initiatives believe that by spreading awareness to the community—including the city councils, students, and drivers—railroad and other train accidents can be avoided.

Also, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) reminds residents near railroads that crossing over railroad tracks could mean trespassing since they are considered as private properties. In addition, there are properly designated public crossing for cars and pedestrians.

Meanwhile, aside from the advocates of the said campaign, a Los Angeles pedestrian accident lawyer also agrees that parents play a very significant role in educating children. He stressed that parents are considered the most responsible parties in teaching their young children about railroad safety precautions.