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Train deaths double in Texas

By Kristen Pope, Reporter, kpope@ktxs.com
Published On: Dec 03 2012 09:41:40 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 03 2012 10:23:28 PM CST
ABILENE, TX -

In the past four years, Texas averaged 20 train deaths a year. This year, that number has jumped to 32.

The numbers include a fatal train accident that happened on Saturday in Abilene. The spike comes after Texas lowered its death toll.

In August, a woman was killed when her vehicle was hit by a train. In September, a pedestrian was killed in Coleman.

Critics of the railroad say the problem is trains are now going faster, but the crossing gates that warn drivers are the same speed as before.

Then, there's the problem of impatient drivers. KTXS has caught vehicles on camera in the past trying to beat an oncoming train.

Drivers interviewed Monday said it's frustrating to wait, but not worth their life.

"I just want the train to hurry up," said one woman.

Another man said, "The trains pass too often too. I think too many times a day."

"It doesn't really take that long to me," said another woman. "Sometimes it goes pretty fast, other times it slows down."

Drivers should treat crossing lights and gates just like a red traffic light. Trains still cannot stop on a dime, when emergency brakes are pulled. It's better to wait than to risk a fatal accident.