Metropolitan Transit Authority Police Officer John J. Matarazzo visited Hampton Bays Middle School to teach students about train safety. During his visit, the policeman, who is an MTA officer for the Long Island Rail Road, shared some of his experiences in the line of duty. He also showed a video, “Off Limits,” about track safety and gave out “Operation Lifesaver” rulers and pens.
Several dangerous and often fatal scenarios were re-enacted in the video, including a girl wearing headphones while walking along the train tracks, a hunter stalking his prey while on the tracks, children whose mini-bike got stuck on the tracks and older teenagers drinking and passing out on the tracks.
During Officer Matarazzo’s presentation, the students learned that crossing, except in specifically designated areas, or loitering on tracks is illegal and dangerous. They were also shown photos of the damage a train can do to a car and a semi-tractor trailer, while learning that trains on Long Island can travel at speeds up to nearly 80 miles-per-hour.
Students learned bout the third rail on subway lines, and train tracks on part of the Island, and what to do if they ever drop anything on those tracks (call for a policeman). Officer Matarazzo also informed the students that there are approximately 20 and 30 fatalities a year involving “person versus train” on Long Island.