“Stop. Trains Can’t” campaign aims to prevent accidents

Local News

NATIONAL (WCIA) — A national campaign is being relaunched to help prevent train accidents.

One Central Illinois mother knows the pain that follows after her child was hit and killed by a train. Anne Drummond’s son, Ryan, is one of thousands around the country who have died because of this. 

Now $5.6 million is being spent to educate people on rail crossing safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it’s dedicating the money to the “Stop. Trains Can’t” campaign. The advertisements will show people how and why to take more precautions.

It’s been nearly 10 years since Drummond’s son died.

She says, “I’m way better than I used to be. I can talk about it now and not break down.”

She remembers it like it was yesterday.

Drummond says, “He got on a 4-wheeler and was racing toward the crossing. The boys on the front porch heard the train whistle, but he did not. They ran down the driveway to warn him and he already started to brake.” 

He couldn’t stop in time and collided with the train. Ryan was just 16-years old. 

Sadly, this type of accident is common. Every four hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train in the U.S.  In 2018, 270 people were killed at railroad crossings. Of those, 99 died after the driver went around lowered crossing gate arms.

Some of the deaths are preventable. It’s why NHTSA is spending so much money to help people understand the dangers. Drummond believes this is one way to make a difference.

She says, “I think it’s always positive to have some awareness. It certainly couldn’t hurt.” 

The “Stop. Trains Can’t” campaign will advertise on radio, digital and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’ll explain how fast trains go and why they can’t swerve or stop to avoid hitting anything which gets in its path. 

The goal is to make people think twice before they take any risky moves when crossing railways.

Drummond says, “They don’t think about tomorrow, they live in the moment. One bad moment and it’s over.” 

The campaign runs the next four weeks. The ads will focus on high accident prone communities in 16 states. Illinois is one of them. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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