Grand Prairie and Union Pacific Introduce First Railroad Crossing Photo Enforcement System in Texas
Effort aimed at increasing public safety at railroad crossings
Grand Prairie, Texas,– To help keep motorists and train crew members safe at railroad crossings, the City of Grand Prairie and Union Pacific Railroad introduced today the first railroad crossing photo enforcement system in Texas at a crossing in Grand Prairie.
At an event at the corner of SE 9th Street and Pacific Street in Grand Prairie, Union Pacific and city officials introduced the new photo enforcement system created by Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc. of Scottsdale, Ariz.
“Union Pacific commends the City of Grand Prairie for teaming up with the railroad and Redflex to introduce photo enforcement technology to help keep motorists and our train crews safe at railroad crossings,” said Lance Fritz, regional vice president of Union Pacific. “We encourage cities across the state and across the country to follow the great example of Grand Prairie, and we look forward to working with other communities to help keep people safe.”
The Redflex camera system provides cities a cost-effective and proven way of enforcing railroad crossing laws.
Although the 11 crossings in Grand Prairie have gates and lights, accidents between trains and motor vehicles at those crossings resulted in five fatalities in the last four years. Since a moving train can take as much as a mile and a half to stop, it is critical that motorist obey crossing signals for their own safety.
“The ultimate goal of photo enforcement is to generate voluntary compliance,” said Grand Prairie Police Chief Glen Hill. “We look forward to the day when such measures are not necessary.”
The photo enforcement system at the 9th Street crossing is the first of several to be installed along the main Union Pacific rail line that runs through Grand Prairie. The next locations to receive the systems are SW 19th Street, SW 23rd Street, Center Street, SW 2nd Street and Belt Line Road. The proceeds generated by photo enforcement will be dedicated to safety improvements at railroad crossings, which will help prevent vehicles from crossing the tracks while a train is approaching.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, grade crossing accidents between trains and motor vehicles across the nation have decreased by 76 percent in the last 34 years. In 1972, there were approximately 12,000 collisions between trains and motor vehicles compared to 2,897 in 2006.
The joint effort with the City of Grand Prairie is one of many public safety efforts by Union Pacific. In 2006, the railroad held over 253 Crossing Accident Reduction Enforcement (CARE) events across the country. During CARE events, law enforcement officers and media are invited to ride trains to get a first-hand look at unsafe activity around crossings. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people across Union Pacific’s 23-state operating territory have learned more about crossing safety, while police departments in those states have had to issue hundreds of citations to unsafe motorists and pedestrians. At the same time, Union Pacific volunteers provide rail safety presentations to the general public, including school children, truck and bus drivers, and law enforcement officers.
Also during 2006, the Union Pacific Railroad Police provided grade crossing collision investigation classes to 3,480 officers across the country.
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