Recognizing Rail Safety Week in Lawton


Published September 21, 2022

September 19-25 is Rail Safety Week, a national awareness event concerning safety near railroad tracks.

With 15 miles of track within Lawton city limits and roughly a dozen major railroad intersections, citizens safety near those intersections is of utmost importance to Lawton.

“The railroad industry does a lot of work to mitigate hazardous conditions,” said Brett Sebastian, the Oklahoma State Director for GoRail. “But the best way we can promote safety has to be at the individual level.”

One of the main goals of Rail Safety Week is to spread awareness. You can do your part to stop track tragedies by learning and sharing these tips:

  1. Never try to beat a train. Any approaching train is always closer and moving faster than you think.
  2. Always expect a train. Freight trains do not travel at fixed times and schedules change.
  3. Look and listen for trains as you approach a crossing. Obey all signs, warning lights, and gates.
  4. Trains cannot stop quickly. It can take a mile or more to stop a train.

Rail operations promote economic development, take trucks off local roadways, and help mitigate air pollution. Although there are numerous benefits, there are some dangers associated with railroads.

Railroads can be dangerous for trespassers, distracted drivers, cyclists, and others who do not understand the threat of the tracks. Across America, a person or vehicle is struck by a train every three hours.

“Education and investments are the two key ways we can promote safety around the rail network,” Sebastian said. “Investments in safety like installing signals/arms or fully separating grade crossings are great ways for communities and railroads to collaborate on safety in a way that enhances mobility for both motorists and the railroads.”

These investments, along with Rail Safety Week, has improved the statistics of track related incidents over the last few years.

“The railroads certainly make their own investments in safety that have helped make recent years the safest on record,” he said.

Together, through education and action, we can prevent avoidable tragedies on our local railways.

For more information you can contact Brett Sebastian at @email.