SALT LAKE CITY -- Look twice, stand back and never go around lowered gates; those are just a few of the messages Utah pedestrians, commuters and motorists are receiving.
Friday, all TRAX and FrontRunner trains were sounding their horns as they approached every crossing and train platform. After a slew of crashes, many of them fatal, the Utah Transit Authority designated Friday "Train for Safety" day.
"I've seen (drivers) go around the arm before we've gotten there or after we've gone through there," said UTA customer Dwayne Kaczor. "And (I'm) just wondering why, why they don't want to wait?"
We're trying to raise awareness today that we are operating at high frequency in the downtown area and elsewhere in our system, and to be extra safe around the trains.
–Gerry Carpenter, UTA spokesman
Each time the horn sounds, the agency, which has seen a rash of sometimes fatal accidents hopes people will stop, look around and think.
"People have got to be made aware — open their eyes, turn off their phones and iPods and pay attention. That's all. It's simple. Just be alert," said Layton resident Bob Root. "You know the train is bigger than you are."
"We're very concerned about the trend we're seeing" said UTA spokesman Gerry Carpenter. "We're trying to raise awareness today (Friday) that we are operating at high frequency in the downtown area and elsewhere in our system, and to be extra safe around the trains."
UTA aims to educate, with messages like "never go around lowered gates," "heads up," and "listen up."
Starting Dec.1, UTA will run a series of radio and TV ads on this same subject. They hope all of this will sink in and help reduce the numbers of accidents.