California Operation Lifesaver urges drivers to use caution at all highway-rail grade crossings

Take a moment to read California Operation Lifesaver’s Press Release urging drivers to use caution at all highway-rail grade crossings:

Recent grade crossing tragedies underscore need for drivers to avoid distraction

California Operation Lifesaver urges drivers to use caution at all highway-rail grade crossings

GRAEAGLE, Ca., February 25, 2015 – Recent grade crossing crashes in both Northern and Southern California highlight the need for all drivers to use caution at every highway-rail grade crossing, a nonprofit rail safety education group says. California Operation Lifesaver, which provides free safety presentations for motorists and pedestrians throughout the state, warns that rail safety is something all Californians should take seriously.

“California ranks first in the nation for highway-rail grade crossing fatalities and second in the number of crossing incidents,” says California Operation Lifesaver State Coordinator Nancy Sheehan. “These recent collisions illustrate the devastating effects that vehicle-train crashes at highway rail grade crossings can have on families and communities. Operation Lifesaver’s safety tips can help motorists and pedestrians avoid the potential dangers that they face at all highway-rail intersections and along train tracks.”

Sheehan noted that overall, crossing incidents have decreased in the U.S. from a high of about 12,000 in 1972 to approximately 2000 incidents in 2013. Preliminary Federal Railroad Administration statistics show that in 2013, 46 percent of all crossing collisions involved passenger vehicles; the second highest number, 16 percent, involved tractor-trailers.

Sheehan offered Operation Lifesaver’s tips for crossing tracks safely:

  • Always expect a train on any train track, at any time.
  • Slow down as you approach all railroad crossings and be prepared to stop if necessary.
  • Never drive around lowered gates – it’s dangerous and illegal.
  • Proceed through a crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear it without stopping.
  • Trains can’t stop quickly because of their size and weight.
  • If you suspect a signal is malfunctioning, call the number posted on or near the crossing signal or your local law enforcement agency.
  • Don’t stop on the tracks, it’s illegal.
  • If you find yourself in the path of a train, get out of the way, and if your vehicle is stuck, immediately get out of the vehicle and away from the tracks. “As a part of Operation Lifesaver’s mission to reduce deaths and injuries around trains, we urge the public to avoid distracted driving and remember: if you ‘See Tracks? Think Train!’” said Sheehan.

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. For more information or to request a free safety presentation, visit:; or .

Stay Alert Whenever You are Near Train Tracks. See Tracks? Think Train!

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