Train safety still issue for Fayetteville residents

Taken+on+the+train+tracks+above+MLK+Blvd.+

Taylor Tames

Taken on the train tracks above MLK Blvd.

Emilee Wagner, Editor

Over the last few years, there have been a decent amount of train accidents, whether it be between the train and a car or two trains, in Northwest Arkansas. Recently, on March 31, 2018, 31-year-old Riley O’Mara of Bella Vista was hit and killed by a train off of Martin Luther King Blvd in Fayetteville. Details of how the accident happened have not been released yet but this brings up a good question: Do people know enough about train safety to prevent these accidents?

Although it may seem pretty self-explanatory, there are things a lot of people do not know. According to Operation Lifesaver, there are many tips that are important to know and things people do not know about trains and train tracks. Train tracks may seem pretty cool to walk on when out with friends, but they are actually considered private property and it is considered trespassing to walk on them and fines and charges can be brought upon the person that is trespassing.

The trains have no specific schedule to follow, either. This means that trains could come at any time and at any number of speeds. This goes for not only walking on train tracks but also just when you are stopped at a railroad crossing. Some crossings do not even have gates, which means people often go across without looking. Operation lifesaver says to always expect trains because there is no guarantee when one will come. Also, always be aware around train tracks. A good thing to remember is that listening to loud music, or things of that sort, can interfere with being able to be aware of surroundings.

Trains take a mile or longer to stop which means if there is someone on the tracks and they do not move out of the way quickly, the train cannot stop. This is much easier when simply walking on tracks versus when a car is on the tracks itself but both are just as dangerous. They are now trying to implement a new safety feature that stops the train in a shorter time but there is no guarantee of how soon this could happen and if it will even happen at all. So for the time being, be safe around trains and pay attention to train tracks.

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