Texas leads nation in incidents involving vehicles, trains

Caution, awareness key to preventing crashes, AAA Texas says

With trains quieter than ever before, drivers are urged to really pay attention around railroad tracks.
With trains quieter than ever before, drivers are urged to really pay attention around railroad tracks.

SAN ANTONIO – Even though the number of incidents declined in 2020, the number of highway/rail incidents in Texas still led the nation.

AAA Texas is using Rail Safety Week to remind drivers and pedestrians of the importance of being patient and taking extra precautions around rail crossings.

“Trying to run around a crossing barrier, the lights and sirens are on the signal, rather certainly avoiding all of that just to save a few minutes isn’t worth your life,” said Joshua Zuber, a spokesman for AAA Texas. “It’s important to know that today’s trains are quieter than ever in Texas. “So even if you’re at an intersection, maybe without that particular type of signaling or signage or devices, it’s really important just to pay attention when you’re around the tracks.”

There were 191 highway/rail incidents in Texas in 2020, according to federal statistics. Bexar County saw the third-highest number of incidents in the state with eight, following Harris County with 28 and Tarrant County which had 16. There were 11 deaths statewide.

There have already been 109 crashes in 2021, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.

“In a scenario where you are stalled on the tracks, you want to get everyone out and get away as far from the tracks as possible, call law enforcement or there is typically an emergency notification system sign and call that number provided,” Zuber said.

Motorists are required to yield the right of way to trains, and it is also against the law to cross tracks if trains are visible.

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About the Author:

Samuel King anchors traffic during GMSA and reports on transportation and mobility issues across the San Antonio region. He joined the KSAT 12 news team in 2020 from KUT in Austin. Samuel was born in Queens, spent time growing up in South Alabama and graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.