North Carolina transportation officials are reminding residents to stay off railroad tracks after a slight uptick in accidents. 

Fifty-one incidents involving trains and a vehicle or pedestrian have been reported this year alone. Forty-six were reported last year.

Jahmal Pullen, a safety manager and engineer at the North Carolina Department of Transportation Rail Division, says many of the incidents are due to pedestrians crossing at spots that are not designated railroad crossings. 

“​​A lot of people don't realize that it's just really unsafe, because trains can come at any point at any time from either direction," says Pullen. "And people just don't realize how quickly they move and how you don't hear it until it's too late.”

Pullen says driver error is another cause of accidents. He says drivers should never stop on tracks, even if traffic is heavy. 

He also reminds North Carolinians that each railroad crossing has a blue sign with a telephone number on it that residents can call to report issues on the tracks, like stalled cars or malfunctioning crossing gates. The number will connect you to an operator who can alert trains on that track in order to prevent a collision. 

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