MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Expect to see more down-crossing gates and flashing lights along the Florida East Coast Railway tracks as Brightline tests their trains with the hopes of resuming service later this year.
Brightline is reminding drivers and pedestrians to not let their guards down around the tracks.READ MORE: Tropical Storm Warning Extended For Northern Gulf Coast Ahead Of Potential Tropical Cyclone Three
“It takes less than a minute for the gate arm to go down, for the train to go through and the gate arm to go up,” said Ali Soule, Brightline spokesperson. “A minute is not worth your life.”
Soule said South Florida also has quiet zones, which can give even less of a warning of an oncoming train.
“As the trains approaching a grade crossing, they don’t have to blow their horn, so just because you might not hear a train might not mean it’s not coming,” said Soule.
Brightline has been no stranger to crashes and deaths in the past.
In its first year of service in 2018, a man was killed when he went around the gates and tried to beat a Brightline train.
A camera on the train’s front end caught the crash in Boynton Beach.
Last year, a car was hit by a Brightline train in North Miami Beach where the driver was able to get out with seconds to spare.READ MORE: Miami-Dade, Broward County Public Schools To Continue Free Summer Food Distribution
A month later, a driver of an SUV was killed after being slammed into by a Brightline train in Pompano Beach.
Brightline said these types of incidents is what they want to avoid as trains reappear on the tracks.
An analysis by the Associated Press in 2019 found that Brightline had the worst death per-mile death rate of the nation’s 800+ railroads.
That analysis was published at the end of 2019, a couple months before service was brought to a screeching halt due to the pandemic.
“It’s like the fastest train I’ve ever seen in my life and the most killings from a train,” said Lameka Gordon, driver.
Drivers who frequently get caught by a passing Brightline train at Broward Blvd. near U.S. 1 say they’ve seen it all.
“Especially night-time, right around 6 or 7 o’clock when people are coming back and forth from work they go right underneath and lift the thing up,” said Joe McCarthy. “The gates are there for a reason.”MORE NEWS: 'We Need To Get To 70 Percent By July 4th': Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava Hopes To Meet Biden Admin. Goal
While passenger service hasn’t been running, Brightline has continued construction of the West Palm Beach to Orlando route.