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Annual event teaches people about train safety

According to the Federal Railroad administration, in 2013, four people have died from car-train collisions in Idaho. Local law enforcement is taking part in the event called Operation LifeSaver.

On Monday state, county and local law enforcement officials were on trains across Eastern Idaho. They issued citations to motorists who run the train track before the train crosses.

Bonneville County Sgt. Jeff Edwards said most people wait for a locomotive to pass, but that’s not always the case.

“Sometimes we’ll get people who stop and wait to the last second and gun the gas and try to make it across the tracks and that’s just not safe. The problem is they can be pushed into a sign, into a canal or into a power pole,” Edwards said.

Monday afternoon, another close call occurred with a group of kids about to cross the tracks as the train was approaching.

“What are you doing get off the tracks!” Edwards yelled.

State Coordinator of Operation LifeSaver Kim Davids said in the late ’80s, they were having incidents every four days. Now one happens about every six weeks.

“We don’t want to see anyone get hurt. If you get hit by a train you can expect some serious injuries. You’re more than 20 times likely to die in a train-car collision than you would in a car-car collision,” Davids said.

Officers also used the “adopt a crossing” approach, where they stakeout a crossing looking for cars running those flashing red lights.

Operation LifeSaver started in 1972. The Idaho Transportation Department and grants help pay for it.

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