PLAQUEMINE, LA (WAFB) - Three law enforcement joined forces in Plaquemine Thursday afternoon to inform drivers of the hazards of railroad crossings.
Officers with the Plaquemine Police Department and deputies with the Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office joined Union Pacific Police in patrolling railroad crossing for motorists disobeying signs at railroad crossings.
The Union Pacific Police invited local law enforcement officers to ride along inside of a train through the city of Plaquemine.
Officers were looking for violations such as drivers stopping on the railroad crossing, drivers trying to beat a train at a crossing, drivers going around crossing gates, or drivers going through the crossing lights without stopping.
Union Pacific Police Special Agent Joshua Guillory said drivers should always be extremely careful when at a railroad crossing.
"Assume that a train is coming from any direction, at any time. If there are multiple tracks there could be multiple trains coming from both directions," Guillory said.
Officials say taking a chance and trying to beat a train at a railroad crossing is extremely dangerous.
"A lot of people don't understand that the weight ratio between a car and a train is about 1000 to 1. So that's the equivalent of a car running over a can of soda," Guillory said.
Also, if a freight train is traveling at 55 miles per hour it can take over a mile for it to come to a complete stop.
"By the time that a crew observes a car in proximity to be struck by a train, it's already too late," Guillory said.
If a train hits a car it can cause serious bodily harm to a driver or even death.
Train drivers are always on the lookout for drivers who do not obey crossing signs and will report violators to local police departments.
Guillory recommends drivers be aware of their surroundings and limit their distractions when around railroad crossings.
Pedestrians should also pay close attention to railroad crossings. Guillory says it's actually against the law to cross over the railroad track anywhere other than a designated crossing area. Walking on the railroad tracks is considered criminal trespassing.
The Union Pacific Police investigates any criminal matters dealing with the trains, including theft of property, fraud activity, or any criminal activity involving Union Pacific employees or property.