Officials discuss railroad crossing safety during ‘Rail Safety Week'

Posted at 1:11 PM, Sep 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-26 17:46:45-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - We drive over them almost every day, but what we don’t realize is just how dangerous these intersections can be. 

Amanda Kresyman sees it happen as she sits just feet away in her office. 

"It's definitely been some instances where you knew something could have happened if it would have been an inch closer," said Kresyman. 

For nearly 10 years, Kresyman has worked next to the railroad tracks at 135th Street and Holmes Road. She said every day she hears a train coming, but the sound is then followed by screeching tires. 

"All of the sudden with my back to the window, I will hear somebody slamming on their brakes because they didn't realize a train was coming or maybe thought they'd be able to beat it," said Kresyman. 

Drivers who are not pumping the brakes are unfortunately pushing the gas and putting themselves in harm’s way. 

"You see people driving around the sticks that drop down and it just seems so dangerous," said Kresyman. 

This week marks the first U.S. Rail Safety Week. 

"Safety going across the railroad tracks, how to approach and how to keep yourself safe," said Officer Richard Green with the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department.  

Missouri Operation Life Saver, Amtrak, and local police are teaming up to raise awareness and enforce railroad safety laws. 

"Like the guy in front of you that went through on the red light and the arm coming down, he wasn't supposed to do that. It's not worth wrecking over," said Green. 

Nationally, a train hits a person or car about every 3 hours. 

"You're going to lose a contest against a big train," said Green. 

That’s why Kresyman hopes people will follow her lead and practice patience. 

"Obviously my life is more important than me being 5 minutes late," said Kresyman. 

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, in 2016, Missouri ranked among the top 15 states with the most deaths caused by trains.