The images of deadly crashes between cars and Brightline trains are heartbreaking and staggering.
Despite safety warning signs, lights and guarding arms at railroad crossings across South Florida, Brightline trains have collided with cars and people at an alarming rate since Brightline started service in 2017.
“We are seeing a high number of incidents with motorists driving around the gates for whatever reason and the cause, we just want people to recognize it’s dangerous and illegal,” said Ben Porritt, who runs communications from Brightline.
So far in 2022, eight people have been killed in collisions with Brightline trains across Broward and Palm Beach counties.
To try and reduce fatalities, the Broward Sheriff’s Office is launching Operation Crossing Guard. Deputies will ticket people for stopping their cars on the tracks, walking across the tracks or driving around the railroad crossing arms while they’re down.
“In almost all cases people are ignoring and circumventing the warning lights, sounds, safety signs and crossing gates,” said BSO’s Col. Steve Robson.
The tickets deputies will hand out are considered moving violations. If you’re caught crossing the tracks on foot when the railroad arms are down, it will cost you $105. Drivers caught going around the safety arms could receive a ticket totaling $165. Enforcement starts Monday, June 6.
“Follow the law and the safety warnings at all railroad crossings, the odds of beating the trains are definitely not in your favor and the results are tragic,” said Col. Robson.
Deputies say they’ll be working with local police departments from Hallandale Beach up to Fort Lauderdale, sometimes working undercover, other times in uniform, to send a message to be safe at railroad crossings.