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Caught on Camera: Cars Ignore Train Crossing, Head for Danger

Video posted to social media shows nearly two dozen drivers crossing into the opposite lanes of traffic, and going around waiting vehicles ignoring the flashing lights and crossing arms to cross a pair of railroad tracks along Blue Mound Road near Haslet Tuesday.

Neighbors reported seeing cars ignoring the warnings before, but some say they haven't seen that many at once.

Others say they've seen it happen at other crossings in the area as well.

"We get complacent living out here. We know the trains are there, we kind of know how quickly the arms come down. We've also learned how long the trains can sit on the track blocking and there's not a lot of viable options to go around without a huge backtrack," said Elizabeth Ribble, who lives in the area.

Ribble said sometimes after a train passes, the crossing arms continue to stay down, so some drivers drive around the arms, thinking there has been a malfunction.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe spokesperson Joseph Faust tells NBC 5 the crossings are designed for the public's protection.

Specifically, the crossing along Blue Mound Road is designated as having a high level of protection, and that includes crossing arms, lights and even concrete barriers dividing the two lanes of traffic in an effort to prevent people from pulling around into the other lane.

Still, drivers ignored all those signs Tuesday, and as the video shows one driver was seconds away from being hit by an Amtrak train moving at high rate of speed.

"It takes a train traveling 50 miles per hour, one mile to stop," Faust said.

Some who live in the area say trains often stop before or after the crossing, possibly leading some drivers to believe the gates are down in error, but there are two tracks and Faust assures they are down for a reason.

Neighbors say drivers need to take more caution.

"I just can't understand that somebody would go around the crossing arms because that would tell you, 'Hey, something's coming,'" Riddle said.

"The current concern is it's not a matter of if somebody's going to get hurt or hit or killed, it's when," Ribble said. "The problem that I see is that, yes, it can hurt or kill somebody in the vehicle, but it seriously is going to impact the lives of the drivers of those trains with no control."

Ribble also said added development in the area is adding more traffic to the roads and therefore the crossing.

"Until there's an overpass over every train track it's going to be an issue, and that's probably not a viable thing to do, build overpasses over every track," Ribble said. "So it's going to be an issue – maybe education and maybe seeing it in the news will help, I don't know."

Gary Riddle lives next to the crossing and says he had never seen that happen, but wonders why anyone would take such a chance.

"I don't want to see anybody get hit, that's for sure," Riddle said. "The thing of it is people are so impatient when it comes to it – they're in a hurry, they want to go right now – and if they have to sit for a train, they get bent out of shape."

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