Vehicle-train accidents on the rise in South Dakota

railroad accident

Be careful at railroad crossings.
It seems like a simple idea but statistics show that some South Dakotans are not getting the message.

Numbers released by Operation Lifesaver of the Dakotas show that vehicle-train collisions are up 77-percent in South Dakota from 2016 to 2017.
Nationally, that figure rose by just a little more than three percent.
No one was killed in the state in a vehicle-train crash last year but injuries were up a whopping 133 percent, from three to seven.
Police say it's up to the driver to do the right thing.

Officer Fred Baxter says, "It is. It's not the train's problem because they own the tracks. The track's private property and they allow us to go across the tracks. Some people get in too big of a hurry and they think I've got to get there and I've got to get there now and try to beat the train and the train's a lot faster than they think it is. Or they get stuck because there's a vehicle in front of them they weren't paying attention to and now they're stuck on the track. And that's not going to end well for them."

Of the state's 16 vehicle train crashes that happened last year, 37-percent of those incidents happened in Meade and Pennington Counties.