After two crashes, you'll be seeing and hearing more about SunRail safety

The state is stepping up its driver-education efforts after a pair of crashes involving SunRail trains last month.

First, the state Department of Transportation has rolled out electronic billboards along the 31-mile rail corridor. The eight digital displays are placed near SunRail stations, from Longwood to Sand Lake Road.

That move coincides with radio spots warning drivers about safety at SunRail crossings. The safety messages include, "A train always has the right of way," and "A 360-ton train can't swerve. Stay behind the line."

The 15-second radio spots are running on 13 stations each weekday before the daily traffic report for a two-week period, according to FDOT spokeswoman Jessica Keane.

The signs and radio ads are being funded out of FDOT's existing marketing budget.

The commuter-rail service debuted to huge crowds on May 1, but the two crashes were a sobering reminder of how unaccustomed many Central Florida drivers are to dealing with trains.

In the first incident, a landscape trailer was hit as it hung over the tracks. Soon after, a woman's car stalled on the tracks and she barely got out before a train plowed into it.

The department is also looking at installing additional pedestrian gates at crossings.

David Breen

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