It seems extraordinary that the Long Island Rail Road should have to launch a campaign to convince people that trespassing on the same tracks enormous trains use is dangerous. Yet, it's a legitimate and sometimes fatal problem. Nationally, 430 people were killed last year while trespassing on tracks. Thirty-five people were struck by LIRR trains in 2013, and 28 died.
It's not clear how many were suicides, but experts say it is clear that those killed by accident often ignore warnings, fences, signs, lights, bells and crossing gates. So now another warning is being added. The LIRR's new print, TV and online ads say, "Don't shortcut your life." They're meant to convince people that seeking a quick route along or across the LIRR's 700 miles of track isn't worth the gamble.
The LIRR is right to try to prevent these deaths, just as it is right to keep telling people not to try to beat trains by driving around lowered gates. Long Islanders need to do their part by listening to the warnings.