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Train Accident Raises Concerns About Safety & Number of Previous - KOAM TV 7

Train Accident Raises Concerns About Safety & Number of Previous Accidents

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Some may consider this type of crossing "unmarked."
But officials with Kansas City Southern Railways say just because there's not a warning bell and lights, doesn't mean there's other warning signs.
This intersection isn't busy - but the highway is.
Chief Joe Perkins, Carl Junction Fire Protection District: "A lot of traffic going down 171, so you have a tendency to be mindful of the truck and car traffic and then you almost, the train tracks are almost like white noise at that point and time."
Perkins has been in the area more than twenty years, and he's seen his share of accidents.
Perkins: "The drivers really have to pay attention and understand, listen, this isn't like at an intersection with another motor vehicle, this vehicle cannot stop."
In fact, may of last year, an accident just four miles down the road at another crossing without signals, on Kafir road.
In that situation, there were no fatalities.
Perkins says another factor in these accidents, familiarity.
Perkins: "A lot of times it's people who on a day-to-day basis go through these crossings, and they sort of attempt to take it for granted so to speak."
But then, accidents along this line pose a separate challenge for first responders.
Perkins: "With this particular line, we have to make sure that we know what side of the track it's on."
Perkins and his crews are sometimes barricaded by a stopped train from an accident, and spend critical minutes diverting around a stopped train to get to the accident victims.
Perkins: "In a perfect world, would it be great to control every single intersection with a train?  Yea.  But that's just not fiscally feasible."

Kansas City Southern wants to ensure motorists and pedestrians stay safe on the tracks and have provided some links to safety tips and information.

Those links are below.

Please find tips for motorists here: https://oli.org/education-resources/driving-safety-tips

Please find tips for pedestrians here: https://oli.org/education-resources/pedestrian-safety

In every state, the state Department of Transportation is ultimately responsible for determining the warning level at highway rail grade crossings.  Motorists and pedestrians are reminded that when they See Tracks Think Train.

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Chris Warner
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A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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