Friday, February 10, 2012

NJ Transit Issues Report On Reducing Train Fatalities

It shouldn't take a long-awaited report to know what NJ Transit and law enforcement has to do to reduce the number of deaths along NJ Transit right of ways.

Far too many people ignore the crossing signs and/or trespass on NJ Transit property and get struck and killed.

One of the proposed ideas is to install skirts on crossing gates to thwart people from ducking under the gates to rush to the other side ahead of oncoming train traffic. Another idea is to install warning signs when trains are coming on the second track.

The proposals are as good as they go, but once again, it comes down to priorities and money. There's far too many localities where such installations are needed, and not enough money to go around to reduce the chances that someone might get struck and killed.

While nothing may prevent someone from committing suicide by train, accidental deaths can be reduced with a combination of better signage and education. Fencing will go a long way to reducing fatalities along rights of way, and the stretch from Garfield through Saddle River is safer as a result of fencing having been erected to keep people off tracks.

NJ Transit needs to be better at policing crossings as well. They should be giving tickets to people rather than just issuing warnings. It's easy to give the ticket - and people who see that tickets are being issued are less likely to do so in the future; and the fines for trespassing or going under the gates should be increased as well. Fines should be dedicated to rail safety education programs and for the installation of other safety systems along the NJ Transit system.

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