Trains and train tracks have always allured young adventurers. But those young people and their parents may not realize it's not only illegal, but is extremely dangerous.
In fact, someone is hit by a train every three hours in this country, according to Fairfax County Supervisor and Chairman of the Public Safety Committee.
"Whether you know it or not, your kids are talking about going on the tracks. It's on social media. The allure of meeting up on the tracks, for a walk on the tracks, it is there," said Cook. But it's so dangerous, he said, "It's like putting on a blindfold and setting out onto the roadway."
In 2016, 980 deaths and injuries occurred nationwide because of trespassing on railroad tracks.
Many residents may not be that today's trains are much quieter and faster. And they can have a stopping distance of more than a mile. Even if a conductor saw a person on the tracks, they couldn't stop if they tried.
Exactly three months ago, Reyhan Safoglu, 13, was hit and killed while walking on train tracks in Clifton, Virginia on June 28, 2017. She was with her 13-year-old cousin and older brother. The two teens were walking on the bridge when a train approached. The boy was able to jump out of the way; unfortunately, the girl could not get off the tracks and was struck.
Public safety officials are putting out a warning to parents and teenagers to stay off the tracks.
“Part of what we do as a police department is prevent tragedy through education campaigns, like railroad safety,” Chief Roessler said. “Trespassing on tracks is a crime.”