APEX, N.C. (WNCN) — Apex police officers joined the North Carolina Department of Transportation to spread the word on railroad safety with “Operation Clear Track.”

The initiative is part of National Rail Safety week, which aims to keep pedestrians and drivers safe at railroad crossings.

“We are handing out rail safety crossing tips, just letting people know how to stay safe around the railroad tracks,” said Ain Flowers, a coordinator with BeRailSafe.

The flyers were filled with information on railroad collision data and tips on how to stay safe at crossings. Officer Brad Meyers said he often see cars rushing across train tracks to beat a red light or pedestrians using the tracks as a short cut. Officer Meyer also reflected on Apex’s own rail collisions. 

“In June 2021, we had a fatal strike. Amtrak hit a pedestrian. Very tragic. We’re trying to avoid that happening again,” said Officer Meyers.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, about one person or vehicle is hit by a train every three hours. Data also shows that North Carolina ranks in the top 10 of train accidents by state. 

“Almost every incident involving a train and a pedestrian or a train and a vehicle can be avoided,” said Margaret Cannell, state coordinator at Operation Lifesaver.

A train traveling at 55 mph needs about a mile to stop. Which means they cannot stop at the sight of oncoming traffic, so trains always have the right of way.

Each day of National Rail Safety Week will touch on different railroad danger themes.