The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Rail Division's BeRailSafe program, in partnership with N.C. Operation Lifesaver, conducted a staged train crash May 30 in Star, N.C.
The staged accident simulated a car attempting to beat a train to a crossing; an act that ended with a crash. NCDOT says the staged event was an effort to educate the public about safety at railroad crossings.
In the 2017, North Carolina has 48 incidents at grade crossings in the state, which resulted in 9 fatalities and 17 injuries. NCDOT says events, such as the staged accident, can help reduce future crossing incidents, which is especially important as the state continues to see its population rise.
N.C. Operation Lifesaver said a second goal to education was the collection of data for use in training materials for law enforcement and first responders. Officials reported that about 200 emergency responders and 200 members of the general public witnessed the event.
NCDOT and N.C. Operation Lifesaver wants drivers to remember:
- It takes a train traveling at 55 miles per hour more than a mile to stop;
- It is illegal and deadly to drive around lowered crossing arms;
- Trains always have the right-of-way, even over emergency vehicles; and
- Never stop a car on the railroad tracks. If a vehicle stalls while crossing the tracks, get out immediately and call 911 or the emergency notification number found on a blue sign on the railroad signal equipment.
The staged accident was recorded from multiple angles including inside the car and locomotive and a video of the simulation can be viewed below.