Railroad crossing safety presentations for truck drivers offered at Victoria College

Victoria College will offer two presentations on railroad crossing safety for truck drivers and truck driver students at 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 30 in the Health Sciences Center, Room 133.

Buck Russel, public safety manager with Union Pacific Railroad, will conduct the presentations geared toward safety awareness for truck drivers. Victoria College commercial truck driving students are also invited to attend either session.

In 2012, there were 1,967 vehicle-train collisions, resulting in 273 fatalities and 946 injuries, according to preliminary statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a motorist is almost 20 times more likely to die in a crash involving a train than in a collision involving another motor vehicle.

“I saw this presentation at a recent Eagle Ford Shale meeting and I was so impressed that I asked Union Pacific if they would offer it to our truck driving students,” said Sherri Pall, director of Victoria College’s Workforce & Continuing Education. “When they agreed, I thought it would be a good opportunity for companies to offer it to their truck drivers. This is a good program to raise awareness of railroad crossing safety.”

Among the points Russel will cover are that drivers should always expect a train. Trains are quiet, Union Pacific safety officials said. They urge drivers to stop, look and really listen before crossing the tracks, and roll down the window as an extra precaution.

Truckers with heavy loads will be reminded to “keep their rear clear” by ensuring their truck’s landing gear clears crossings and that the trailer completely clears the tracks.

Union Pacific officials urge drivers to always stop at a railroad crossing when the arm is down or lights are flashing, and to never try to beat a train. If drivers find themselves stuck on a crossing or experience an emergency involving a train, they are urged to call Union Pacific at (888) 877-7267, Russel said.

As part of its efforts to promote safety, Union Pacific has created UP CARES Safety Grants to provide financial support for community-owned railroad safety initiatives. Programs eligible for these grants include youth education activities, school or community safety days, community safety blitzes and grade crossing educational enforcement activities.

To learn more about Union Pacific’s safety initiatives, visit UPCares.com.

For more information on the railroad crossing safety presentations, contact Mary Pullin at (361) 485-6830.

Published: Thursday, 17 October 2013

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