An undercover initiative is taking place in the Rio Grande Valley to bring awareness to a deadly statistic.
Across the country a person or vehicle is hit by a train every three hours. This week law enforcement is cracking down on those looking to ignore the signs and break the law.
Union Pacific is teaming up with local law enforcement for an awareness campaign. They’re watching railroad crossings and cracking down on those trying to beat the gate. News Center 23 is given access to witness how often drivers ignore the signs.
For now it’s a ticket or a warning, but the message is one of safety. A train moving at over 55 miles per hour can take about a mile before it comes to a full stop. Once the lights come on do not cross. The train has the right of way.
Alfredo Rodriguez – Union Pacific says, “It’s not only unsafe but it’s against the law to try to beat the train at the crossing.”
It’s part of an awareness campaign during National Railway Safety Week. During our ride along in Rancho Viejo eight traffic stops occurred from law enforcement. Rancho Viejo Police say they see operations like these serve as an educational tool. One that could save a life.
Alfredo Rodriguez – Union Pacific Police, “If we can prevent one accident from happening, then we did our job.”
Fines for violating this law run from $50 to $200, but there’s no price on a life. That’s why they ask you to be cautious no matter how busy or rushed you may be.
Operations have been taking place this week in Harlingen, San Benito, and across the valley. Union Pacific asks that you stay vigilant to reduce the number of preventable deaths.