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Saving Lives, Nationwide: Rail Safety Week 2017

<p>Libby Rector Snipe</p>

Libby Rector Snipe, 4-26-2017


2017 marks Operation Lifesaver’s 45th year, and we have an exciting way to celebrate! We are working with the U.S. Department of Transportation and other organizations to observe the first national U.S. Rail Safety Week (RSW) from September 24-30, 2017.

The goal of RSW is to raise awareness across the U.S. of the need for rail safety education and empower the public to keep themselves safe near railroad tracks. Launching a national Rail Safety Week fits with Operation Lifesaver’s ongoing mission of reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and preventing trespassing on or near railroad tracks.

With funding from the Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Transit Administration and Federal Highway Administration, along with support from the railroad industry and other safety partners, Operation Lifesaver will launch a Rail Safety Week awareness campaign featuring digital ads, new safety materials, and local events throughout the week. Events will include school safety presentations, officer on a train efforts, and community safety blitzes to share lifesaving tips for students, pedestrians, drivers, transit riders and passenger rail users.

Broad gains have been made in highway-rail crossing safety over Operation Lifesaver’s 45-year existence, due to sustained federal and private investment in engineering, enforcement and education. Crossing collisions have plummeted by 83 percent over the past four decades. We are proud of these gains, but preliminary federal statistics for 2016 show there is much more to be done. While overall crossing collisions were down 2.4% compared to 2015, total crossing fatalities rose 13.7% resulting in 265 deaths.

The trespass picture is much worse. Every day people are walking, exercising and taking pictures on or too close to the tracks, all of which is illegal and extremely dangerous. Trespassing incidents were up 14.5% last year, resulting in 988 deaths and injuries.

When tragedies like this and this make headlines, it’s a grave reminder that about every three hours in the U.S., a person or vehicle is hit by a train. By working with a broad range of partners on Rail Safety Week, we will call attention to the need for renewed dedication to saving lives near tracks and trains.

How can you help our lifesaving efforts?

1. Learn more on our Rail Safety Week landing page.

2. Respond to our partner survey to indicate your ability to make a difference by sharing our messages and materials with your communities.

3. Find out how your organization can join our Rail Safety Week team.

4. You may also sign up to receive updates on RSW activities.

5. Help us spread the news about RSW by sharing our tweetables, below!


Together, we can make a difference – and save lives.


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