TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI)- Distracted driving has police and conductors concerned. That’s why Wednesday more than a dozen officers gathered at Indiana Railroad in Terre Haute to get a firsthand look at the growing issue.
Terre Haute Police Chief John Plasse was one of the many who rode the classroom train. He says it's not hard to believe how big of an issue this is.
"Now and days there so much in a hurry and don't realize that trying to go around a crossing when an indicator is showing a trains approaching to save four minutes or five minutes," said Chief Plasse.
The "Officer on a Train" event was put on with the help of Operation Lifesaver Indiana. A group that does presentations educating how to save lives on the tracks. An issue that is continually on the rise around the state.
Helping give the presentation was the Executive Director of Operation Lifesaver Indiana, Jessica Feder. She has been educating law enforcement the best she can after recent numbers released by the state.
"Well, Indiana is ranked sixth in the nation for railroad crossing collisions. Which is pretty high were a fifteen-state so that's a high number," said Feder.
Also during the ride, the train ran a live feed of the front of the train showing what these conductors see every day. Not only showing those driving through intersections, but also another issue that claimed ten lives last year… trespassing by walking on railroad tracks.
"You could be severely injured or killed its easy even if you’re not on the tracks. A train overhangs the tracks by three feet on either side so you can still be injured or killed that way as well," said Feder.
Now, these officers hope to pass this knowledge onto others. Doing what they can to help prevent future fatalities across the state.
"You know we need to do maybe a little bit better job enforcing trespassing, just seeing the concerns that they've got and seen the video of people walking on the tracks and getting killed. It can cost a life and we can help prevent that," said Plasse
If you come across someone trespassing on the tracks or any incident that could risk someone's life, call the police. They also urge you to reach out to the railway as well.
Each intersection has a blue emergency sign with a number for you to call. It'll also tell you the intersection number for you to relay to dispatch.
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