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Brightline outlines safety campaign after 4 people killed by trains

Posted at 7:54 AM, Jan 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-19 20:34:04-05

Officials with Brightline held a Friday news conference to address recent safety concerns following multiple deaths from the high-speed trains.

Brightline officials said at a 10 a.m. news conference in Boca Raton that they want to bring awareness and enhance education about rail safety. 

RELATED: Family of man killed by Brightline train pleads for investigation

Brightline President Patrick Goddard said they are activating a statewide safety campaign, adding more signage announcing service, increasing public service announcements and putting out safety street teams at local events.

Goddard said their plan includes placing safety ambassadors at the busiest intersections.

"We are here because safety systems are in place. They work, yet we recognize that we need to amplify the message around safety,” said Goddard.

"I think the public needs to understand these trains move faster than they appear (and they need to) respect the gates,” said West Palm Beach City Commissioner Keith James. 

Other South Florida transportation leaders spoke Friday about forming an action plan for education and exploring the possibility of using drones to alert oncoming trains if anyone is on the tracks.   

The Associated Press reported that Brightline trains have resulted in fourth deaths since the high-speed passenger service began conducting test runs early last year. 

A 32-year-old woman was killed Jan. 12 by a train and a 51-year-old man on a bicycle was killed Wednesday. Both deaths occurred in Boynton Beach.

Brightline said in a written statement Friday morning they are "committed to equipping the general public with the knowledge necessary to stay safe around not just Brightline tracks, but all train tracks."

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast called for Brightline trains to stop running until what he called "massive safety flaws" were resolved.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao Wednesday asking her to investigate the fatalities and what's being done to address safety concerns.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio also urged Chao to “work with Brightline, the Florida Department of Transportation, local governments and the surrounding communities to implement appropriate safety measures and confirm proper infrastructure is in place to avoid future fatal accidents.”

Boynton Beach Commissioner Joe Casello also called for Brightline to stop service altogether until safety is improved.