San Marcos is synonymous with college life, rolling hills, the river and another more irritating element — trains. Since waiting at railroad crossings is a such a large, time-consuming part of everyday life in San Marcos, residents should use more caution in order to help reduce chances of collisions with 416,000-pound hunks of metal.
According to an Oct. 29 University Star article, two Bobcat Tram drivers were cited for violations at a train crossing Oct. 23 during an operation to raise safety awareness in the area. An additional 65 individuals were cited for unsafe actions at the railroad crossing as trains traveled through town last week, according to the article.
Trains can pose a serious threat to pedestrians and drivers alike. It is commonplace for many drivers to speed through an intersection to avoid waiting in train traffic after railroad crossings begin flashing. A hasty decision like speeding may save about five to 10 minutes of time, but it immediately places drivers in extremely dangerous situations. Oncoming trains often carry heavy cargo and travel at speeds too fast to brake in a short amount of time.
Not only can drivers become stuck on the tracks or otherwise not make it through the crossings, but they can also receive a class C misdemeanor citation. While a citation is far less serious than possible death at the hands of a train, tickets should be an additional deterrent for those who do not regard personal safety as incentive enough to abide the law.
Additionally, if students or residents feel compelled to walk along the train tracks, they should take care not to block out the world with distracting text messages or loud music blaring through their headphones. It is easy to space out and avoid hearing train horns, so it is vital for students and residents to take extra caution to be aware of their surroundings when traveling near trains. While signs reading “don’t take a shortcut, it might cut your life short” are extreme, they are true. Walking on the railroad tracks is not cooler or quicker than any other route.
According to the same article, a 2012 Federal Railroad Association report said Texas and 15 other states contribute to 63 percent of the total amount of highway-rail crossing collisions that occurred last year. Of a total 1,967 incidents last year, 227 occurred in Texas. This puts Texas as the number one state in the nation for highway-rail crossing incidents. In San Marcos alone, a handful of students and residents have died on the tracks in the past few years.
Trains are a huge part of everyday life for those who live in San Marcos. If students and residents value their lives, they should be cautious at each of the numerous railroad crossings that pass