NBC 4 New York
The Long Island Rail Road is running a new ad campaign designed to get the attention of motorists and pedestrians who ignore flashing crossing gates. Some viewers say the ads are unnecessarily graphic. Greg Cergol reports.
The Long Island Rail Road is running a new ad campaign designed to get the attention of motorists and pedestrians who ignore flashing crossing gates.
The public service ad is called "Wait for the Gate" and shows a car driving through the gap in a downed crossing gate and then getting hit by an oncoming train.
"At 60 miles an hour it can take a train up to a mile to come to a halt," the ad's voice-over warns. "Please wait for the gate."
The accident was simulated but an image of a mangled vehicle at the end of the video was taken from a fatal January crash in Brentwood. Police believe the driver was distracted by her phone.
The campaign also includes six outdoor billboards near LIRR stations. It's a result of an increase in grade crossing accidents -- about 20 in the last two years, with eight non-suicide deaths.
At a gas station near the train crossing in Farmingdale, driver Luis Casadiego gasped "Oh my God" as he watched the graphic ad.
His reaction is just what the railroad is looking for.
"We want people talking about it because we think that's the way we can raise awareness among young people," said LIRR President Helena Williams.
The LIRR says other railroads have used similar ads and they've been effective.
Still, some viewers remained disturbed.
"It could be a little graphic, upsetting to some people," said Donna Loeven of Franklin Square.
"There could be a better way of displaying that kind of danger," said Carol Gross of Copiague.
But they all agreed, the ad makes a life-and-death message perfectly clear: "Better safe than sorry," said Tim Del Conte of Farmingdale. "It's important for them to do that."
Greg Cergol contributed to this report.