N.J. Transit trying to shock people into staying off tracks

New Jersey Transit is using graphic language to try to keep pedestrians safe at train crossings.   A series of Public Service Announcements is designed to drive home the message.  

“Once you are hit by a train, this is the size bag we will use to collect whats left of you on the tracks,” said Lieutenant Richard Marinelli, while holding a sandwich bag in the message.  Marinelli works for New Jersey Transit’s Police Department. The goal is to shock people into understanding how deadly it can be to disregard a lowered railroad crossing gate.

New Jersey Transportation Commissioner James Simpson says in October three people were killed in two collisions with trains that happened just 48 hours apart.  Since then, N.J. Transit has been trying to spread the word and change behaviors including an in-school program to teach youth about train safety.

“Unlike a car where a car can swerve, trains cannot swerve and as a result with the laws of physics it could take a train a quarter of a mile to stop and students have not had the experience to learn that,” said Simpson.

Train Engineer Tom Haas is even more graphic in the Public Service Announcement.

“That sickening thump that you know that somebody’s life has just ended,” said Hass.

New Jersey Transit Board Member Flora Castillo says everyone needs to be responsible for train safety, including reporting those who are wandering too close to the tracks.

“The impact of poor choices along our railways have impacts far and wide,” Castillo.

Commissioner Simpson says his staff is studying new crossing gates that could keep people from going around them.

“Now we’ve got gates that come down with a skirt underneath it so it’s a lower bar so if I attempt to bend down and I could crawl under the gate and get down on all fours also we have pedestrian gates with a skirt underneath,” said Simpson.  “We are trying to make a barricade because people are not paying attention and not following the law.”

The whole public service announcement can be seen in the above video after the news conference footage.

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