Rail safety a serious priority for Union Pacific on the Central Coast

Fatal accidents occur every nearly year

Safety issues on and near the rails a top priority. (John Palminteri/KEYT photo)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Efforts to make sure our rail corridors safer remains a top priority for Union Pacific.  

Since 2012 there have been 19 deaths in Santa Barbara County. Seven were classified as accidental.

Justin Jacobs with Union Pacific was in Santa Barbara today with a message for drivers and pedestrians to follow the rules around the railroad tracks.  He says that will go a long way to reduce injuries and deaths.

One of the main problems is linked to someone trying to get around the crossing arms when they are down or coming down.

Jacobs says the area of lower State Street is also getting busier than ever. "Motorist, pedestrian, train traffic, freight train traffic,  commuter traffic all coming together in one spot.  It is an area where we need to raise awareness," he said.

A new hotel is set to open that will generate vehicle and pedestrian traffic.  Nearby,  the popular funk zone has busy beer and wine tasting rooms along with restaurants and art galleries.  Many people are getting around near and over the tracks on foot.  At the same time a full schedule of freight and passenger trains are coming and going.

Jacobs encourages everyone near the tracks to "look, listen and live."

"For us, the community support obeying the no trespassing signs being aware of those warnings, and signals when they are there adhering to those, that goes a long way," said Jacobs.

He was in town, in part to appear on the AM 1290 Community Alert radio show. There he spoke with hosts Mike Williams and Ted Adams for an hour about rail safety issues. Jacobs keeps tabs on Union Pacific rail issues in seven states.

Safety information can also be found through the Operation Lifesaver organization at  :



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