New Report Puts Forth Rail Safety Guidelines [AUDIO]
After several fatalities on NJ Transit train tracks at the end of last year, a new rail safety report makes several recommendations to safeguard passengers and residents in Jersey who live near train stations and crossings. Jim Simpson, the Commissioner of the Jersey Department of Transportation says the report focuses on three complimentary safety spheres - engineering, education and enforcement.
"Engineering is basically to take a look at the geography of all the rail grade crossings and the right of ways" he says, "looking to see what can we do vis a vie signs, better gates, better signals…anything we can do to let people know a train is coming."
He says " the educational component is important because that's where we can get the biggest bang for the buck and we can do the most - I mean with thousands of miles of rail in this state and right of way - and over 320 grade crossings, the best thing we can do is educate people."
Simpson adds no matter what changes are made, "if you're distracted while you're near the rail lines- at a grade crossing or at a station - pull off the headsets and listen because it's a very dangerous place and be aware of your surroundings…we'll do whatever is necessary to make the engineering safe - but the biggest component is people who violate the law - for the most part kids- and adults who don't even know that they're breaking the law…it comes down to personal responsibility which seems to be lacking in every area of our society today."
He says NJ Transit police will work with local law enforcement officials around the state "and give people warnings the first time and ticket them the second time and let them know they're not only breaking the law, but they're setting a bad example for others, and it's very dangerous…hopefully if we give them a warning - we don't want to give them tickets - but to give them a written warning and scold them - I'm sure we'll convince these very bright people not to do it again…we really want to get out there and get the message out and the best thing we can do is have zero deaths - that's what we're shooting for -zero deaths."