Crash Victim's Mom Presses Congress For Safer Rail Crossings

The Repository - The West Side 


A Canal Fulton woman who started a foundation to improve rail crossings after her son died in a 1995 car-train wreck was in Washington on Monday, calling for Congress to make railroad safety a priority.

Vicky Moore whose son, Ryan, was one of three teens killed March 25, 1995, in a car-train crash on the Stark-Wayne border, briefly addressed the National Press Club as part of a push by RailWatch to improve safety.

Mrs. Moore, who founded The Angels on Track Foundation in the wake of her son's death, noted that 80 percent of the country's railroad crossings--about 131,000 in all-- have no warning gates or lights. "All crossings that have vehicle traffic should have an active warning device," she said. "Crossbucks aren't enough."

The $7 million a jury awarded Mrs. Moore's family as compensatory damages for her son's death is being used to help upgrade dangerous crossings. Three such crossings in Wayne County are to get gates and lights, she said, with more to come. "We're putting our money into the work of protecting these crossings with gates and lights because the railroads just won't take responsibility for making their own operations safe."

"Instead, they treat this as our problem, and that's appalling."

Mrs. Moore and members of RailWatch, a nonprofit coalition for rail safety, shared with Press Club members a report that details "an alarming railroad safety record," said Sherry Kiesling Fox, RailWatch executive director.

"Death rates have remained virtually unchanged for most of this decade, and train accidents involving hazardous materials spills (occur) at the rate of one every two weeks," Mrs. Fox noted. "Unfortunately, the shameful safety record of our nation's railroads is nothing new."

"We're asking Congress to address the issue. Our goal is to keep pushing until the railroads accept their responsibility for public safety."

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