SunRail looks for ways to stop deaths along its tracks

By David Bodden, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 4:38 PM EDT

Why have fatalities along SunRail tracks spiked in 2017?

  • 5 deaths along SunRail tracks in 2017
  • SunRail, FDOT is looking for ways to  prevent deaths
  • Train Safety Awareness Week in September

Five people have died while crossing the SunRail tracks so far this year. This was one of many topics discussed at the Central Florida Commuter Rail Commission meeting in Downtown Orlando on Wednesday. 

The latest fatality happened on Aug. 28 in Seminole County, according to SunRail spokesperson Steve Olsen. A cyclist was struck while crossing the tracks at Longwood Lake Mary Road and Ronald Reagan Boulevard. 

SunRail officials say they are looking at the problem closely. Two of the five deaths were suicides. In May, a teenager was struck and killed in Sanford. An elderly man was killed while crossing the track in Orlando last week.

Overall they are working on safety campaigns and implementing safety measures aimed at cutting down on pedestrian access to the tracks.

SunRail's first pedestrian fatality happened back in August of 2014. For the next two years, there were no fatal pedestrian accidents.

Olson says SunRail is taking this situation seriously and they are looking for ways to keep people off of the tracks.

That includes safety campaigns they've launched on social media and billboards, warning people to stay away from the tracks. They will also launch Train Safety Awareness Week during the last week in September.

SunRail will also launch a $400,000 project to install fencing in 12 separate areas in December in an attempt to keep pedestrians safe.