May 24, 2017 – California Operation Lifesaver has been awarded a grant from Operation Lifesaver, Inc., (OLI) in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for rail crossing safety public education efforts in conjunction with U.S. Rail Safety Week (RSW), September 24-30.
Federal statistics show that about every three hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train in the United States. California ranks 2nd nationally for crossing collisions, with 52 deaths and 50 injuries and a total of 167 grade crossing incidents.
The state program will use the funding to raise awareness among residents about how to keep themselves and others safe at railroad crossings. The grant project includes grade crossing TV public service advertising (PSA) campaign in markets that have experienced an increase in crossing incidents. California Operation Lifesaver will also incorporate activities throughout the state September California Rail Safety Month, and partner with Union Pacific and Metrolink police departments on enforcement events and community outreach in Los Angeles County during Rail Safety Month and U.S. Rail Safety Week (RSW).
The grant will run from mid-August to September 30, 2017, and will include messaging surrounding RSW, September 24-30, 2017.
“This grant allows us to support U.S. Rail Safety Week activities in California, as part of our mission to eliminate collisions, injuries and deaths at highway-rail grade crossings,” said Nancy Sheehan, California Operation Lifesaver State coordinator. “We are grateful to the Federal Highway Administration for facilitating this much-needed effort to improve safety in our state.”
California Operation Lifesaver is making critical strides to reduce tragic collisions at highway-rail crossings throughout the state. The California Operation Lifesaver Board of Directors is proud to support these lifesaving efforts surrounding Rail Safety Week to help the public know how important it is to act safety at crossings. Together, we can save lives.”
U.S. Rail Safety Week will feature awareness events throughout the country, as well as digital and radio ad campaigns targeted to drivers of all ages, with a goal to empower people to keep themselves safe near tracks and trains.
Operation Lifesaver offers these rail safety tips to keep drivers safe every week of the year:
- Trains and cars don’t mix. Never race a train to the crossing — even if you tie, you lose.
- The train you see is closer and faster-moving than you think. If you see a train approaching, wait for it to go by before you proceed across the tracks.
- Be aware that trains cannot stop quickly. Even if the locomotive engineer sees you, a freight train moving at 55 miles per hour can take a mile or more to stop once the emergency brakes are applied. That’s 18 football fields!
- Never drive around lowered gates — it’s illegal and deadly. If you suspect a signal is malfunctioning, call the emergency number posted on or near the crossing signal or your local law enforcement agency.
- Do not get trapped on the tracks; proceed through a highway-rail grade crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping. Remember, the train is three feet wider than the tracks on both sides.
- If your vehicle ever stalls on the tracks, get out and get away from the tracks, even if you do not see a train. Locate the Emergency Notification System sign and call the number provided, telling them about the stalled vehicle. If a train is approaching, run toward the train but away from the tracks at a 45 degree angle. If you run in the same direction a train is traveling, you could be injured by flying debris.
- At a multiple track crossing waiting for a train to pass, watch out for a second train on the other tracks, approaching from either direction.
- When you need to cross train tracks, go to a designated crossing, look both ways, and cross the tracks quickly, without stopping. Remember it isn’t safe to stop closer than 15 feet from a rail.
- ALWAYS EXPECT A TRAIN! Freight trains do not follow set schedules.
About Operation Lifesaver – Operation Lifesaver is a nonprofit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and preventing trespassing on or near railroad tracks. A national network of trained volunteers gives free presentations on rail safety and a public awareness campaign, “See Tracks? Think Train!” provides the public with tips and statistics to encourage safe behavior near the tracks. OLI will lead a national observance of U.S. Rail Safety Week, September 24-30, 2017. Learn more about U.S. Rail Safety Week; follow OLI on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.