NJ Transit Reports Increase in Grade Crossing Incidents, Reminds Drivers of Rail Cross Safety

NJ TRANSIT is reminding customers, drivers and pedestrians of the best ways to stay safe near railroad tracks and to always obey warning devices and signals.

“There’s been a recent increase in grade crossing incidents on our rail and light rail systems that warrants a simple, but stern, reminder – obey all safety and traffic signals,” said NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin Corbett. “In these recent instances the safety mechanisms were all working as intended, which is why it’s so important that whether you’re walking or driving, always pay attention to safety lights, bells and crossing gate arms, and never – NEVER – attempt to go around or under crossing gates or stop on the tracks for any reason. By keeping this in mind, we can help ensure that all travelers safely arrive at their destinations.”

“Please make sure to be aware of your surroundings when you’re at a grade crossing, said NJ TRANSIT Senior Vice President and Chief Safety Officer Brian Lapp. “Warning signals are there to keep people out of harm’s way. Heed the warning. Take the time to stop and keep a safe distance to prevent accidents at grade crossings.”

NJ TRANSIT has more than 300 grade crossings across the system that are inspected every 30 days in compliance with federal regulations.

Motorists should obey warning devices and signals, never stop on grade crossings and make sure there is enough distance between you and other vehicles so you can safely exit the crossing. If you find yourself on the railroad with the gates down keep driving forward or if there is not room in front of you, get out of the vehicle and move as quickly as possible away from it. Reminder: Lights and bells begin flashing and ringing before the gates begin to come down – that is your signal to stop.

At NJ TRANSIT, the most common accidents at railroad crossings occur when a motor vehicle driver or pedestrian disobeys the warning devices and goes around downed crossing gates falsely believing they can get through the crossing before the train arrives. Commuter railroads, like NJ TRANSIT, are governed by laws and regulations to protect the public at grade crossings. Those rules are strictly monitored by federal regulators and NJ TRANSIT itself. The public needs to be aware that the gates, signals and signage are there for their safety and the safety of the customers and crew members on board the train. Violators are subject to fines and penalties.


Important Safety Practices when near railroad tracks:

No trespassing
Stay alert
Obey signs and signals
Cross at designated areas only
Stand behind the safety line on station platforms

Throughout the statewide rail system, which includes more than 500 miles of track and more than 300 public grade crossings, NJ TRANSIT has deployed and maintains various safety mechanisms including right of way fencing, variable message signs, warning signs and bi-lingual “no trespassing” signs.

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