Police coordinate special railroad crossing enforcement operation
Law enforcement in Portage County launched a "Grade Crossing Enforcement Blitz", which means they are targeting drivers who are breaking the rules at railroad crossings.
The enforcement blitz is a one-day coordinated operation with the Wisconsin State Patrol, Portage County Sheriff's Office, the Stevens Point Police Department, and the CN Railroad Police.
Sheriff Mike Lukas with the Portage County Sheriff's Office said train traffic has increased dramatically in the last decade and with that so have the number of people willing to take a risk at railroad crossing intersections.
"We want people to realize this is a large heavy object coming, it may appear that its coming slow but they move quite quickly" Lukas said.
According to CN Railroad Police drivers are dodging gates and ignoring railroad crossing signals so they don't have to wait for the train to pass through the intersection, but Special Agent Russ Kollmansperger says the blitz isn't just to enforce laws. He said he wants to educate the public on the kind of risk they're taking.
"A train hitting a car is the equivalent to your car running over a 12 ounce can of soda. We want to make sure people slow down, pay attention at railroad crossings because it is very dangerous."
Not everyone pulled over during the blitz will get a ticket. Some will be handed a warning and a pamphlet with more information on railroad crossing safety.