"As Operation Lifesaver joins countries around the world in observing the fifth annual International Level Crossing Awareness Day, we take pride in the efforts that have contributed to a continued reduction in U.S. crossing incidents," said Joyce Rose, president and CEO, Operation Lifesaver, Inc. "In the face of growing demand for public transit, passenger and freight rail services, our mission of rail safety education is more relevant than ever."
Rose noted that Operation Lifesaver state program leaders and safety partners from the railroad industry, state government agencies, local law enforcement, communities and other groups will participate in activities next week across the U.S. in conjunction with ILCAD. Events include crossing safety community activities, state proclamations, special trains, commuter rail station displays, positive enforcement exercises, outreach to professional truck drivers, school safety presentations, special training events, media interviews, news releases and social media.
"Despite a reduction in vehicle-train collisions, across the U.S., a person or vehicle is hit by a train about every three hours. We are grateful to our safety partners and volunteers for their help in raising awareness to save lives," Rose stated.
The United States had 1,960 vehicle-train collisions in 2012, according to preliminary Federal Railroad Administration statistics, versus 2,062 in 2011. Crossing collisions resulted in 271 deaths and 930 injuries last year. In 2012, trespass deaths rose to 438 from 412 in 2011; trespass injuries were also higher in 2012 (406) versus 2011 (367).