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Graphic LIRR ads target crossing gate safety

A still image from the "Wait for the

A still image from the "Wait for the Gate" public service video released by the LIRR, showing a simulated collision at a crossing grate. Credit: MTA / LIRR

The Long Island Rail Road has launched a graphic advertising campaign designed to raise awareness of the deadly consequences for motorists and pedestrians if they ignore flashing crossing gates.

"It is designed to get your attention," LIRR president Helena E. Williams said Monday of the new campaign called "Wait for the Gate."

"We do think that it's an important message that we just have to reiterate."

The 15-second public service advertisement released Monday shows a car being driven around a downed crossing gate before being hit by an oncoming LIRR train.

"Cars can stop on dime, trains can't," the voice-over in the video warns. "At 60 miles per hour, it takes up to a mile for an engineer to bring his train to a complete halt. Please wait for the gate."

The scene depicting the train hitting the computer-operated car was staged, but an accompanying image of a mangled vehicle at the end of the video was taken from a fatal January crash in Brentwood, Williams said.

That crash killed driver Blanca De Maldonado, 52, of Commack, and her father, Jose Adolfo Reyes, 73. Suffolk police have said they suspect De Maldonado was distracted by her phone.

Williams said the campaign will include six outdoor billboards near LIRR stations. The railroad will also make the campaign available through its YouTube, Facebook and Twitter pages, and in radio and television ads.

"Sadly, it's a scene that plays out too often," Williams said. "The safety of our customers, our employees and everyone who transverses our right-of-way is always our top priority. We have addressed the crossing gate problem in public service announcements time and again over the years and felt it was time to raise our voice once more."

With Alfonso Castillo

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