Newark Police to Participate in “Operation Clear Track” Public Awareness Campaign

The week of September 22 – 28 is Rail Safety Week across the United States and Canada.  Rail Safety Week (“RSW”) reinforces Operation Lifesaver’s mission to save lives. The goal of RSW is to raise awareness about the importance of rail safety and empower the general public to keep themselves safe near railroad crossings and along railroad rights-of-way.

During Operation Clear Track, more than 500 local, state, federal and railroad police organizations are stationed at grade crossing and trespassing incident locations in 48 states to hand out safety materials to motorists and pedestrians and enforce crossing and trespass laws.

During RSW, members of the Newark Police Department’s Traffic and Special Operations Units will be stationed at grade crossings around Newark to educate the public about grade crossing safety and to enforce laws related to rail safety.

The following are some grade crossing safety tips:

  • Always expect a train at each highway-rail intersection.
  • All train tracks are private property.
  • Never walk on tracks; it’s illegal trespass and highly dangerous. By the time a locomotive engineer sees a trespasser or vehicle on the tracks it’s too late. It takes the average freight train traveling at 55 mph more than a mile—the length of 18 football fields—to stop. Trains cannot stop quickly enough to avoid a collision.
  • A train can extend three feet or more beyond the steel rail, putting the safety zone for pedestrians well beyond the three foot mark. If there are rails on the railroad ties always assume the track is in use, even if there are weeds or the track looks unused.
  • Remember to cross train tracks only at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings, and obey all warning signs and signals posted there.
  • Stay alert around railroad tracks. No texting, headphones or other distractions that would prevent you from hearing an approaching train; never mix rails and recreation

In Newark, trespassing on railroad tracks is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of a least $100.00 and not to exceed $500.00, or by imprisonment for not more than 30 days, or by both fine and imprisonment.