Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI) announced this week that it will work with the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and other organizations to observe the first national Rail Safety Week, which will be Sept. 24-30.
OLI is working with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, state partners and railroads to develop an awareness campaign to educate pedestrians, motor vehicle drivers and rail riders about safety on or near railroad tracks and grade crossings.
"As OLI celebrates its 45th year of existence this year, launching a national Rail Safety Week fits with our ongoing mission of reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and preventing trespassing on or near railroad tracks,” said OLLI President and Chief Executive Officer Bonnie Murphy.
About every three hours in the United States, a person or vehicle is hit by a train, Murphy said.
"While sustained federal and private investment in engineering, enforcement and education on safety at highway-rail crossings has led to an 83 percent drop in collisions at these intersections over the past four decades, hundreds of Americans are still killed or injured each year," she said.
Karl Alexy, the FRA's director of the Office of Safety Analysis, noted that cooperative efforts such as a national Rail Safety Week are necessary to change behaviors of pedestrians and motorists.
"Too many people unnecessarily lose their lives each year because they try to beat a train at a crossing," Alexy said.
Meanwhile, the FRA yesterday posted on the USDOT's bloginformation on what to do if a vehicle gets stuck on railroad tracks.