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Police officers and firefighters emphasize train safety in Riverside

Published: Thursday, May 16, 2013 2:06 p.m. CDT

RIVERSIDE – Police personnel from Riverside will enforce a zero-tolerance campaign next week when it comes to train safety.

Village officials had both police officers and firefighters passing out information at railroad grade crossings Tuesday. Their goal was to raise awareness among pedestrians and motorists of what acts are illegal when it comes to crossing train tracks. Officers will be back out at grade crossings May 21 issuing tickets to anyone caught violating train safety laws.

Each year in Illinois, people are killed and many others injured in highway-rail grade crossing collisions or while trespassing on on railroad property, according to a news release issued by the Riverside Police Department. In Riverside, there are two major rail lines running through the community and five grade crossings that present a [potentially] dangerous situation between a train and a pedestrian or motorist.

The annual campaign is an effective way to remind people of the need to adhere to the law at railroad grade crossings.

"People are usually in a hurry, Riverside police Sgt. Bill Gutschick said. "The biggest factor involved in an accident with a train is that they are trying to catch a train and they're running a little late."

State law prohibits pedestrians or motorists from entering, remaining upon or traversing a railroad grade crossing or walkway when an audible bell or clearly visible electronic or mechanical signal device is activated. People also may not walk or drive around crossing gates or barriers, according to Illinois statutes. Those who violate these laws are subject to a mandatory court appearance and $250 fine for the first offense.

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