Rail Safety Week underway
Gov. Eric Holcomb declared Sept. 21 to 27 as Indiana Rail Safety Week in conjunction with U.S. and Canada Rail Safety Week that will take place throughout North America.
“Our goal is to increase rail safety awareness by working collaboratively with virtual events due to COVID-19 and socially distancing in-person events,” said Jessica Feder, executive director of Operation Lifesaver Indiana.
The Indiana State Police, Indiana Dept. of Transportation, local law enforcement agencies and railroad companies have partnered together to raise awareness about the dangers of disregarding railroad crossing laws and trespassing on railroad property.
“Every three hours, a vehicle or person is hit by a train in the United States, and, in Indiana, most of our collisions happen at crossings with active warning devices,” Feder said. “Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year Rail Safety Week will emphasize virtual activities and social media to share our life-saving messages. We want the public to know how important it is to pay attention at railroad crossings and our priority is safe interaction between railroads and our communities.”
As part of Rail Safety Week, new video and audio public service announcements are being released in an ongoing campaign aimed at saving lives near railroad tracks. The campaign, #STOPTrackTragedies, features videos with personal stories of people directly affected by rail crossing or trespassing incidents, including victims, friends and family members, locomotive engineers and first responders.
“Our goal is to keep Hoosiers safe at crossings and near train tracks,” said Feder. “We are seeing an increase in trespasser activity on railroad tracks in 2020 due to COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders. Indiana Operation Lifesaver encourages everyone to make safe decisions and pay attention around train tracks so we can stop track tragedies.”
In 2019, Indiana had 120 railroad crossing collisions resulting in 44 people injured and 11 fatalities. Indiana is ranked fourth nationally for railroad crossing collisions. The state also had nine trespasser deaths last year as well as eight injuries.
Indiana Operation Lifesaver is a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade intersections and on railroad rights-of-way through public education, engineering and enforcement.
To learn more about Indiana Operation Lifesaver, go online to www.oli.org or call 1-812-528-4327.