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Monday, March 4, 2024

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Democracy Trailblazers ignite enthusiasm among teen voters; CA monster blizzard batters Tahoe, Mammoth, Sierra amid avalanche warnings; MN transportation sector could be next in line for carbon-free standard; IN teachers 'stunned' by lawmakers' bid to bypass collective bargaining.

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Nikki Haley says she may not endorse the GOP nominee, President Biden says the U-S will continue air-dropping aid into Gaza and more states look at ditching the electoral college for a national popular vote.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Campaigns bring focus to safety concerns for railroad tracks, crossings

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Monday, October 2, 2023   

Minnesota is among the top 25 states for collisions at railroad crossings.

Safety experts shared common tips to avoid tragedy, and not just for those in vehicles. The data is from the organization Operation Lifesaver, which said overall, these incidents are much less common than they used to be, but there are still concerning trends.

Buck Russel, manager of public safety for Union Pacific Railroad, said since 2018, there has been a 35% increase nationwide in the number of trespassing collisions on railroads. He explained railroads are private property, so people on the tracks are considered trespassers, not pedestrians.

"It's not a place to take wedding pictures, graduation pictures, record albums," Russel pointed out. "They have that nostalgia feeling, the train tracks; they continue on forever into the sunset. But when you get on the train tracks, you're exhibiting those bad behaviors that our little ones are going to pick up on."

Minnesota is not among the top half of states for trespassing casualties. As for drivers, Russel encourages them to slow down and look both ways when approaching a railroad track, and added to expect a train "in any direction at any time." He reminded people freight trains do not run on set schedules as passenger trains do.

Russel said a recent report released by the Safe Kids Worldwide campaign found a majority of parents do not realize the importance of addressing railroad safety, despite the statistics. Whether it is a railroad crossing or a collision on the tracks, he said nearly all incidents are preventable.

"Approximately every three hours, either a person or a vehicle is struck in the United States," Russel reported. "I know personally, when I pass it on to my family members, they're just like, 'There is no way it can be every three hours.' And it, unfortunately, really does come down to that."

Russel added most of the collision incidents take place between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Last month, the Biden administration announced it has awarded more than $1.4 billion to projects around the country to improve railway safety.


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