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Railroad, police catch drivers who speed through crossings

Train Crossing

OKLAHOMA CITY – You probably drive through them every week but do you pay attention to them?

KFOR-TV had a crew on board a train as police caught several people speeding through railroad crossings moments before the train.

You could be putting yourself in extreme danger if you ignore those flashing lights.

On one trip, four cars flew across the tracks just seconds before the train got there.

That is the kind of driving Union Pacific and police want to stop.

“A lot of what this is about is getting the attention of the driving public to make them aware,” Railroad police’s John Schumacher said. “People forget that it’s against the law to drive in front of a train.”

It’s against the law and flat-out dangerous.

Last year alone, Oklahoma was 10 in the country for crossing collisions.

The crew ran a train from the fairgrounds to Yukon, tag-teaming with police to catch people running the crossings.

Oklahoma City hasn’t had a collision in a few years but there has been a rise in broken gates and near-hits reported by train crews.

It’s a sign that drivers are getting more reckless.

“Because if they’re in front of the train to knock a gate off, it’s just a matter of time before they get hit by a train,” Schumacher said.

Oklahoma law states if you’re at a railroad crossing that does not have gates but the lights are flashing, you must completely stop.

If the train is more than 1,500 feet away and does not blow its horn after you stop, then you can cross.

But if you hear the horn and the lights are flashing, you must wait until the train passes.

This wasn’t just about giving out tickets; it’s about helping to keep people safe.

“If you get hit by a train, that’s the same thing as this car running over a Coke can,” he said.