VALHALLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Police departments across the country are being asked to issue more tickets for violations at railroad crossings following recent crashes in New York, California and North Carolina.
Following the Metro-North Railroad crash that killed six people in Valhalla, Metropolitan Transportation Authority police have begun issuing summonses at six times last year’s rate, The Associate Press reported.
On Feb. 3, a Harlem Line train crashed into a Mercedes SUV at a grade crossing, sparking an explosion and fire that burned out the first car of the train.
According to investigators’ preliminary findings, the SUV was in the danger zone inside railroad crossing gates for about half a minute before the train hit.
Ellen Brody, the SUV driver, and five men on the train were killed. All six suffered blunt-force injuries and burns, according to the medical examiner.
Another fatal crash in California prompted the Federal Railroad Administration to announce a nationwide safety campaign, encouraging local police departments to bump up their patrols at crossings and issue more citations.
According to the Railroad Administration, there have been more than 10,000 crashes at railroad crossings in the last five years. Those crash resulted in more than 1,200 deaths and almost 4,700 injuries.
On Saturday, a light rail train collided with a vehicle in front of the University of Southern California, seriously injuring the driver and the train’s operator. Nineteen other train passengers were hurt.
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