Oklahoma City Police Promote Train Awareness And Safety

Monday, June 9th 2014, 7:53 pm
By: News 9

Statistics show someone collides with a train every three hours and experts say that is way too often. Police created "Operation Lifesaver" to promote train awareness and safety.

Oklahoma City Master Sergeant Mark Sexton has spent 26 years in the force and has seen it all while working in the fatality and collision unit.

"This is really a proactive approach we like to use to keep the motor public safe as we can," said Master Sgt. Sexton. "We work quite a few of collisions involving trains and pedestrians."

"It's up to us as motorists to be very aware, trains have the right away 100% of the time that's their highway system," said Executive Director Sherry Soliz.

Sexton is used to hopping on board and conducting train crossing enforcement.

"Let them know where we're at, once we see the signals come on notify our officers ahead," said Master Sgt. Sexton.

Many officers strategically park their cars at the crossings. Oklahoma currently ranks in the top 15 states for trespasser fatalities. It's a statistic that doesn't make any sense to Soliz and Sexton.

"It is frustrating because people just disobey the laws," said Soliz. "When you come to the tracks you are actually crossing a highway system."

To put a train collision into perspective, the average train speed in the metro is between 40 to 50 mph, and when a train collides with a car, it is equivalent to a car running over a 12 ounce can of Coke.

Not obeying the law can cost drivers nearly $200 dollars a ticket.

"Let them know this is certainly a battle you are not going to win," said Master Sgt. Sexton.

Almost every law enforcement department in the metro participates in the Operation Lifesaver program. Police handed out 19 tickets in a four mile span in Monday's exercise.