Operation Lifesaver, the national, nonprofit rail safety education group, announced that it will work with the U.S. Department of Transportation and other organizations to observe the first national Rail Safety Week (RSW), September 24-30, 2017.
“The goal of RSW is to raise awareness across the United States of the need for rail safety education and empower the general public to keep themselves safe near highway-rail grade crossings and railroad rights-of-way,” said OLI President/CEO Bonnie Murphy. “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."
“It’s imperative that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Operation Lifesaver and railroads continue to partner to educate the public about the dangers at grade crossings and trespassing on railroad tracks,” said Karl Alexy, FRA Director, Office of Safety Analysis. “Too many people unnecessarily lose their lives each year because they try to beat a train at a crossing. We need education campaigns like Rail Safety Week to change behaviors among pedestrians and motorists.”
Operation Lifesaver is working with the FRA, Federal Highway Administration, and Federal Transit Administration, alongside safety partners in federal and state government, the railroad industry and other safety-minded organizations on an awareness campaign, local events, and distributing safety tips for pedestrians, drivers, transit riders and passenger rail users throughout Rail Safety Week, Murphy said.
“About every three hours in the U.S. a person or vehicle is hit by a train,” Murphy explained. “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. We look forward to working with a broad range of partners to save lives through our Rail Safety Week efforts.”