Rash of accidents at train crossings raising car safety questions

NEW CASTLE (WABC) -- Deborah Molodofsky had such a close call at a Metro-North Railroad crossing in Chappaqua last week, that she vows never to drive there again. This comes after the crossing gates started to come down on top of her car.

"If there hadn't been room behind me, I don't think that a person's instincts would be to back up into another car - you don't want to hurt anybody," says Molodofsky, "and that was part of the calculation. I had to look in the rear view mirror to see if there was room, and thank God there was."

It was the same scenario that unfolded in the deadly train crash in Valhalla early last month. To prevent such a tragedy in Chappaqua, town leaders want to eliminate the crossing by building a bridge.

"If drivers didn't have to come in contact with the train tracks at all, that would be the ideal plan," says New Castle Deputy Town Superintendent Lisa Katz.

However, Katz acknowledges a bridge is a long-term and costly situation. In the meantime, she wants increased safety awareness, more traffic enforcement, and more education for young drivers.

One of the main concerns with the specific crossing in Chappaqua is that there is a high school less than half a mile away. During school hours, traffic in the area backs up, and high school drivers may be inexperienced and not always patient.

"We are going to start a campaign really to make sure that they are aware, and work with the driver's ed department and divisions and make sure that they know," adds Katz.

Town leaders also plan to repaint the lines and road markers at the crossing.

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