Raleigh - The N.C. Department of Transportation is partnering with the North Carolina Justice Academy to educate law enforcement officers around the state about rail safety.
"State rail officials work tirelessly to improve railroad safety and the safety of the communities along the tracks," Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson said. "We also want our law enforcement officers to protect themselves and help prevent tragedies on or near railroad property."
Each year, officers attend mandatory continuing education and training to maintain law enforcement certification. Part of the training in 2017 includes a nine-minute training video produced by the department's BeRailSafe railroad safety outreach program.
The video outlines three key issue areas for law enforcement officers:
Identifying and using the railroads' blue emergency notification sign;
Enforcing trespassing laws on railroad property; and
Staying safe when working on or near the railroad tracks.
Railroads are private property, and anyone on railroad property or right-of-way without permission from the railroad company is trespassing. Railroad tracks are an industrial environment that is not safe for walking, biking or taking shortcuts. The only safe and legal place to cross the railroad in a vehicle or on foot is at an authorized railroad crossing.
With 30 railroad companies and more than 5,000 miles of railroad tracks, North Carolina is one of the fastest growing rail states in the southeast. BeRailSafe provides free training for all first responders, including police, firefighters and 911 operators around the state to mitigate rail environment dangers and minimize risks on this expanding network.
The North Carolina Justice Academy prepares training materials for the two commissions that oversee the training of law enforcement officers throughout the state. This year, more than 30,000 police officers and sheriff's deputies will watch the BeRailSafe training video, enhancing their knowledge of railroad safety best practices.
The safety message in the video is not only for law enforcement. North Carolinians are also encouraged to watch the video on NCDOT's YouTube channel.