Railroad Safety Takes Center State After Recent South Florida Brightline Collisions

Railroad Safety Takes Center State After Recent South Florida Brightline Collisions

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The focus is on railroad safety after dozens of deaths and injuries within the last year.

Between 2021 and 2022 so far, we’ve covered 17 Brightline crashes involving pedestrians and drivers, 10 of them fatal.

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This week we saw back-to-back collisions.

On Monday in Pompano Beach a man was hit and killed, and his truck was left unrecognizable. Then a day later, a man was hit and killed on Hollywood tracks when his jeep was struck by the Brightline.

“It’s no different than stopping at a red light. You can’t drive through a red light, you can’t drive around a rail gate,” explains Ben Porritt, Brightline Senior Vice President.

The Federal Roadway Administration said they are very concerned about the number of grade crossing and pedestrian fatalities reported along the Brightline corridor in South Florida, but Porritt said it’s a problem impacting not just them.

“This is not unique to Brightline. This is something you see throughout the country,” he said.

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Now, Brightline and the Florida East Coast Railway are teaming up with the state, working on a $45,000,000 project to make railroads safer.

“There are three different types of safety enhancements. The first is channelization fencing and landscaping that will take people from just crossing the railroad, down to a proper crossing,” said Porritt.

They’ll also install delineators at each crossing to prevent drivers from making a left or right onto the railroad tracks and they plan to create dynamic, bold signs to warn drivers of active railroads.

“Mechanisms that channel people away from the railroad and certainly avoid the railroad when they shouldn’t be there anyway,” explains Porritt. He says he’s confident these safety improvements will have a noticeable impact in lowering the number of collisions, injuries and deaths we’re currently seeing.

“Pay attention to the safety warnings, stop before the tracks, don’t park on the tracks, don’t try to beat a train. Our trains go through crossings in 45 seconds,” he adds.

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The $45,000,000 will be used to improve more than 300 railroad crossings in Florida from Miami-Dade to Brevard County.

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