Many Drivers Try To Beat Train, Wind Up With Citation - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Many Drivers Try To Beat Train, Wind Up With Citation

Trains can be slow or fast.  Either way, they can be very deadly.   But, it's usually a driver's impatience or carelessness that costs lives.

Tyler Police want to change that, by catching drivers who run lights and gates at railroad crossings.

"We've just been really fortunate that we haven't had more accidents," says TPD Sgt. Herbert Hayter.   

Tuesday morning, it was time for an experiment. Engineers see drivers shoot in front of them all the time, but police were waiting.

Running from the Union Pacific yard through Tyler, across Palace Street, the lights are clearly on, and the horn's blaring, but traffic keeps moving.

"I guess they think that 'Well, I've got plenty of time, and they're really not thinking that train is going down the tracks and it can't stop in time to avoid the collision.'"

Sgt. Hayter says the worst times are during rush hour. This morning, there were quite a few impatient drivers.

"If they think they can beat the train, a lot of times they'll take that risk," Hayter says.

They make it through, but only to be met with a ticket on the other side.

It'll take hundreds of feet to stop a slow moving train.  Outside of town, at 60 miles an hour, it takes a mile to stop.

"The worst [fate] they can fear is death, because I guarantee you that engine cannot stop, and the consequences of a locomotive hitting a car, is devastating," Hayter says.

Three East Texas counties --  Hopkins, Shelby, and Cass -- are on the list of the counties with the most crashes. They all had at least four collisions with injuries and fatalities in 2003.  That's the last year statistics are available.

Officers say they'll be out until drivers finally get the message, and stop.

Reported by Morgan Palmer.

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