Thursday, June 10, 2010

UP marks crossing safety milestone in Nebraska

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Union Pacific Railroad's North Platte Service Unit, which encompasses most of the 1,067 miles of track Union Pacific operates in Nebraska, has gone more than 200 days without a public grade-crossing collision. The last private-crossing collision occurred in November 2009.

"All of the Union Pacific North Platte Service Unit employees want to thank the thousands of drivers who have obeyed warning devices at grade crossings in our area and hope everyone continues to drive their vehicles safely when they approach railroad crossings," said Chad Wilbourn, Union Pacific's general superintendent transportation services - North Platte Service Unit.

Law enforcement representatives from Union Pacific Railroad Police and the Buffalo County Sheriff's Office recently teamed up to remind motorists of highway-railroad grade crossing laws as part of a program called Union Pacific's Crossing Accident Reduction Education and Safety (UP CARES).

The railroad and local law enforcement officers did not issue any citations to motorists for highway-railroad grade crossings violations.

The Kearney area was chosen by the UP CARES task force for this enforcement effort because of reports from UP employees and local officials of continued violations by motorists who do not obey the warning devices at area crossings. The UP CARES task force is made up of Union Pacific police officers who work with city, county and state police officers to enforce highway-railroad grade crossing laws.

UP CARES is part of the Operation Lifesaver program, where police officers ride on trains to observe motorist behavior at highway-railroad grade crossings. If a motorist violates the grade crossing traffic laws, the officer on the train radios to an officer positioned near the crossing, who can issue the motorist a citation.

In 2009, there were 41 highway-railroad grade crossing collisions in Nebraska resulting in nine fatalities and 18 injuries, compared to 48 collisions resulting in two deaths and 20 injuries in 2008. These figures include all Nebraska railroads and public along with private crossing collisions.

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