Fifteen people were caught violating railroad-crossing laws at a recent checkpoint in St. Landry Parish. Lt. Megan Vizena with the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Department says police caught the drivers trying to beat the train when they pulled up to the railroad crossing.

But Captain Eddie Thibodeaux did point out that since this was started about five years ago, the citations issued have dropped from about 50 citations in one day to less than 20."This means drivers are more cautious of the railroad crossings," says Captain Thibodeaux. "There are thousands of people killed every year because they tried to beat the train, or just aren’t paying attention. Any wreck or accident that takes place at a crossing is preventable," Thibodeaux added.

Louisiana law says the driver of a vehicle is supposed to slow down to a speed reasonable for existing conditions, or shall stop if necessary, before entering the intersection. After having listened and looked, the driver is then supposed to yield the right of way to any approaching train and then the driver is allowed to proceed if it is safe to do so. The law also prohibits any person to walk on the tracks or railroad property.  The penalty for the violation ranges from $200 or 30 days in jail on the first violation.  The second violation is not more $500 or not more than 90 days and required to attend a court approved driver improvement course.

The Eunice Police Department, the Opelousas Police Department and the Union Pacific Railroad Police also assisted in the checkpoint.