Group uses ‘wrecked car’ to draw attention to railroad safety

Lynne Napton

North Dakota Operation Lifesaver (NDOL) has placed their "wrecked car trailer" in Williston as part of a statewide visibility campaign aimed at increasing awareness about railroad safety. The trailer features a car that was struck by a freight train near Kenmare in 1997.

In recent years, western North Dakota has seen a spike of vehicle and train collisions and near collisions. This campaign is a part of their efforts to stay safe when near the tracks. The wrecked car trailer will be at the Fuel Plaza Tesoro parking lot in Williston through June 29.

Since 2007, North Dakota has recorded 69 incidents resulting in 30 injuries and 14 fatalities. In 2010, North Dakota experienced a 40 percent increase in incidents.

The car which is on display was donated after being struck by a westbound freight train near Kenmare at the Kenaston highway-rail crossing. Two sisters were traveling and the driver did not notice the train and proceeded through the crossing. Both occupants survived the collision and donated the car to NDOL in an effort to educate the public about the dangers of highway-rail crossings.

NDOL has 30 trained presenter-volunteers across the state who conduct free public presentations on railroad safety for all ages and occupations. Anyone may request a free presentation by contacting Serena Schmit, NDOL State Coordinator at 701-873-2224. For more information and statistics, visit www.ndsc.org/operationlifesaver or www.oli.org.

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