September 1, 2017- Eight years ago, in August 2009, the California State Legislature proclaimed September as Rail Safety Month. Presenting California Operation Lifesaver and their rail partners with this proclamation the Legislature recognized the need for rail safety education.
California Operation Lifesaver (CAOL) is a non-profit safety education and awareness program dedicated to ending collisions, fatalities, and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and on railroad rights of way.
“Currently, California ranks number one in trespass casualties, number two in grade crossing incidents, and number one in both grade-cross and trespass fatalities in the United States,” indicated Nancy Sheehan, the California Operation Lifesaver State Coordinator. These statistics have remained the same since 2009, underscoring the continued need to educate the public about rail safety.
California’s crossing fatalities rose 79.3 percent from 2015 to 2016, while trespass fatalities increased by 17.4 percent. “These statistics stress the urgent need that rail safety is something all Californians should take seriously,” said Sheehan.
California Operation Lifesaver will actively promote rail safety awareness to educate the public during CA Rail Safety Month. Working with Operation Lifesaver Inc. in support of our nationwide See Tracks? Think Train! Campaign, California Operation Lifesaver will also participate and support the first ever U.S. Rail Safety Week; September 24 – September 30.
About every 3 hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train. Operation Lifesaver is working to empower people to keep themselves safe around railroad tracks. “We can all join the Rail Safety Month and the Rail Safety Week effort to do our part to raise rail safety awareness,” explained Sheehan.
During Rail Safety Month and U.S. Rail Safety Week, CAOL will utilize two grants, the OLI/Federal Railroad Administration Grant and the OLI/Federal Highway Administration Grant. Through these grants we will run digital advertising campaigns, TV PSA Ad Campaigns, and run special safety blitz events in partnership with railroad police departments. These campaigns will focus outreach to raise rail safety awareness in high incident counties across the state.
California Operation Lifesaver’s team of Authorized Volunteers work to raise rail safety awareness all year long through presentations and participation in events statewide. During CA Rail Safety Month CAOL volunteers will grow the message with presentations to schools, law enforcement, community groups, and more.
CAOL partners with railroads, government agencies, law enforcement, cities, counties, schools, and community groups throughout California. Together we will observe Rail Safety Month and Rail Safety Week to enhance our mutual rail safety efforts.
California Operation Lifesaver greatly appreciates and recognizes our rail safety partners across the state for their commitment and support of our continued efforts. Their partnership is essential to our ongoing mission to educate the public.
“We all need to work together. We urge the public to share the See Tracks? Think Train! message with 5 of your family or friends, ask those 5 to tell 5 to keep the message growing. Join the campaign to raise awareness; #SaveLivesTell5!
About Operation Lifesaver – 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.