There is a good reason why Indiana's motto is Crossroads of America. Our state is home to more than 10,000 miles of federal, state, and county roads and 4,000 miles of railroad tracks. Trains use these 4,000 miles of track to move 332 million tons of freight across the state each year. All those roads intersect railroad tracks 6,600 times in Indiana. Nationwide, there are more than 200,000 public railroad crossings, and more than 300 million vehicles cross them each day. Each day, most of us will drive across one or more railroad crossings. But when we cross those road-to-rail intersections we give little thought about what takes place where cars and trains share this piece of ground. Crashes at rail crossings represent only a small percentage of the total number of highway accidents, and they seldom make the evening news or local newspapers. It might surprise many of you that someone in the United States is hit by a train every three hours. Those crash totals seem insignificant compared to other highway statistics, but each incident could have been prevented if the motorist or pedestrian would have used common sense and adhered to the signs and signals as they approached the highway-rail grade crossing and crossed the railroad tracks.
Dennis Nowaskie; Fred Whitford, John L. Obermeyer, Kevin Leigh Smith