A series of crashes involving trains and passenger vehicles -- including deadly collisions in New York and California last month -- have prompted police to ramp up ticket enforcement at railroad crossings, reports the Associated Press.

The Federal Railroad Administration has called for police departments nationwide to add patrols and issue more citations as the first step in a safety campaign, and drivers in the New York suburbs are already seeing the results.

Police from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are issuing six times as many summonses as they did last year to drivers who go around gates, stop on the tracks or drive distracted at grade crossings on the Metro-North and Long Island commuter railroads, spokesman Aaron Donovan said. Officers wrote out 249 tickets between Jan. 1 and March 22, compared with 41 in a similar period last year.

"Ninety-four percent of grade crossing accidents are linked to a driver's behavior," said Sarah Feinberg, the Railroad Administration's acting administrator.

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