It’s hard to believe that we are already at the end of this year, a year filled with challenges to meet and goals to achieve. 2016 has been a busy year for California Operation Lifesaver. The number and variety of events we participated in grew with every month of the year, reaching a broad demographic with every outreach.
As in years past, raising rail safety awareness took a team of outstanding volunteers, rail safety partners, and many proactive communities willing to become involved in sharing the message.
2016 took us down familiar and important rail safety educational pathways. Pathways where our amazing team of California Operation Lifesaver Volunteers delivered our rail safety education in presentations and at events statewide. We could not achieve this grassroots outreach without the amazing commitment of our volunteer team.
California Operation Lifesaver was grateful to be awarded two special grants.
- The Operation Lifesaver/Federal Railroad Administration (OLI/FRA) grant was utilized for trespassing and grade crossing campaigns These campaigns gave us a rail safety messaging reach of over 5 million people.
- The Operation Lifesaver/Federal Highway Administration (OLI/FHWA) grant helped us utilize digital advertising targeting sports venues across the state. Over 4.5 million were reached with this campaign during September Rail Safety Month.
Our Rail Safety Partners supported our efforts, participated in outreach, and invited CAOL to join them in their rail safety campaigns. Our Rail Safety Partners help make it possible for us to grow our mission and save lives with rail safety education.
Current Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) preliminary statistics:
- Through October 2016, our Grade Crossing incidents are down 6% during this same time frame in 2015
- Our Trespass casualties are up 14% through October 2016 during this same time frame in 2015
- The numbers at this point indicate that California continues to be number 1 in Trespass casualties and number 2 in Grade Crossing incidents
These statistics demonstrate the continued need for raising rail safety awareness and our rail safety education. They reveal the need for multiple formats to grow the message. Most importantly they emphasize the importance of rail safety partnerships. It is through teaming up and partnering that we are able to identify where and who is in need of our messages. It is through these partnerships and proactive involvement of communities across California that we can create ways to educate the public to make good decisions near railroad tracks.
As we embark into 2017, the New Year offers us the opportunity to carry forward all the important rail safety messaging we created and shared in 2016. At the same time it offers us the opportunity to start anew to create more rail safety messaging and partner to grow rail safety awareness and save more lives.
California Operation Lifesaver is grateful to our team of volunteers for all they do to share and save lives with our rail safety education statewide. We are thankful to all of our Rail Safety Partners for their support and dedication that helped us grow our message in 2016.
We look forward to working with our volunteer team and with our rail safety partners in 2017. Together we will make it our goal to change the numbers to make rail safety a priority and raise rail safety awareness across California.
Let’s make 2017 a year for changing the numbers and saving lives! Happy New Year to All!
Nancy Sheehan-McCulloch – State Coordinator
Operation Lifesaver’s mission is to end collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and along railroad rights of way. A national network of trained volunteers provides free presentations on rail safety. Learn more at [state website URL, Facebook or Twitter link] or at http://www.oli.org.