By Sierra Flores
Special to the News
This last Tuesday, various law enforcement agencies partnered with the Union Pacific Railroad to help send an important message out to locals about abiding to railroad crossings.
“Trying to beat the train can either cost you a $200 fine or it’ll cost you your life,” stated Special Agent Alfredo Rodriguez.
In attempt to better enforce the law and educate the public, the San Benito Police Department, Cameron County Constables, and Union Pacific officers created a detail that focused on the train driving through San Benito repeatedly. Officers on the train relayed to officers on the ground of the illegal crossings and continued to issue out over 20 citations.
“We’ve had several fatalities within the last couple of years,” stated Constable Adrian Gonzalez. “It’s very important people understand the danger here.”
Local officials have seen a spike in incidents with not only automobile-train accidents, but with pedestrians who walk down the tracks or run across while a train is headed down.
“The reason we are doing this is to prevent anymore of these accidents from happening,” stated Rodriguez.
The Union Pacific Railroad states the best way to stay safe is by taking extra caution when a train is visibly coming towards you. Vehicles and pedestrians are to yield to the railroad warning lights, even if the barriers have not been set into place yet. Looking both ways and crossing with care will help to make a safer San Benito for us all.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, Between January and June this year alone, 397 people died in a train accident by trying to beat the train. Officers are hoping their efforts will help raise awareness and prevent any more local deaths from occurring.