Railroad safety enforcement is part of Union Pacific’s UP Cares program. Mark Davis, UP Spokesman, says Union Pacific works with local law enforcement agencies across the railroad to watch motorists at grade crossings.
He says on any given day at least two of these operations going on across the railroad.
It’s called an enforcement run, where local police ride on the locomotives with the train crew and stage officers at grade crossings.
Davis says if the officer sees unlawful behavior by a driver at a crossing, that driver may be pulled over and cited.
He says the two biggest infractions are drivers not paying attention and those trying to beat the train.
"A vehicle driving over an aluminum beverage can has the same crushing force as that locomotive hitting your vehicle. So it’s one of the more horrific incidents, not only for those in the vehicle, but also for the two train crew members that have to witness this. For them, they’re helpless. They know they can’t stop in time.”
Davis says the best way to avoid a collision is for drivers to stop when the gates are down and lights activated, and let the train pass.
Last year there were 28 grade crossing collisions in Nebraska, 13 involved injuries and 3 involved fatalities.