North Texas

Plano Police Team-up with Railroad to Crack Down on Crossing Violators

Plano police spent Thursday morning tackling a long-standing problem in the community and throughout North Texas: drivers breaking the laws at railroad crossings.

Officers teamed up with the Kansas City Southern Railway Company to spot and stop violators near the busy North Central Expressway.

Some police rode along in a freight train, crossing the frontage road multiple times, while other patrols posted up along the route and watched from their vehicles.

Within a few passes, officers had pulled over several drivers for violations like stopping in the middle of the tracks at a red light and trying to speed past crossing arms to avoid waiting for the train to pass. One unlucky driver even got pulled over after going under the crossing arm as it was dropping, and having it hit slam onto the truck's bed.

Along with the usual warnings and citations, police passed out educational materials to some, hoping to spread awareness of rail crossing rules.

While some rails like the DART, TRE, and DCTA lines are used frequently, others in the area don't get so much use, and Plano Officer Andrae Smith said that often leads to drivers getting complacent.

"They're thinking, 'I drive this every day, I'm always stopping on this track and nothing happens.' Everyday doesn't always happen, and we don't want it to be the day when a train comes, and you're stuck in a position where you can't move yourself," said Smith.

Kansas City Southern Railway Officer Cort LaBlank said conductors often see people trespassing along train tracks as well – an issue that can lead to serious injury and even death.

"Be aware that these are violations," said LaBlank of the enforcement effort. "People don't realize that some of these things they do every day is a violation of traffic law."

Officers say, overall they hope to get the message out to more people to start giving trains a little more space.

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