Operation Lifesaver Releases New VPSA Targeting Risky Driver Behavior Near Rail Crossings
WASHINGTON, DC, June 3, 2015 – Operation Lifesaver, the national nonprofit rail safety education organization, launches a new video public service announcement (VPSA) to combat dangerous driver behavior at railroad crossings, according to President and CEO Joyce Rose.
“As more than 40 countries worldwide work together to promote safety at all railroad crossings on June 3, International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD), Operation Lifesaver is pleased to release the latest VPSA as part of our ‘See Tracks? Think Train!’ campaign,” Rose states. “The video demonstrates in a very compelling way the potential danger that drivers face at highway-rail grade crossings and the tremendous force of a train hitting a car on the tracks.”
Operation Lifesaver partnered with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), who partially funded the new video public service announcement, along with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on the new VPSA.
U.S. Department of Transportation Acting Administrators Sarah Feinberg (FRA), Gregory Nadeau (FHWA) and Therese McMillan (FTA) are appearing in interviews on June 3 with Rose, as well as Operation Lifesaver’s crossing safety spokesperson, Dr. Lanny Wilson, whose daughter was killed in a crossing collision. They will discuss collaborative efforts to encourage safe driving behavior as part of the ILCAD observance on June 3.
“Highway-rail grade crossing accidents claim more than 250 lives each year – and each one is preventable,” said Feinberg. “We must take every opportunity, in every community, at every crossing, to bring attention to these very preventable accidents, and save lives.”
“As more and more communities around the country choose to build new or expanded light rail and streetcar services, it is vitally important that we educate people who may be unfamiliar with these new transit services to learn how to be safe around transit tracks, trains and rail crossings,” said McMillan.
“FHWA’s number one priority is safety,” said Nadeau. “We’re committed to supporting campaigns that remind people to be alert at highway-rail crossings.”
Operation Lifesaver launched the “See Tracks? Think Train!” campaign in 2014 and developed this new VPSA in response to an increase in 2014 railroad crossing incidents. Preliminary 2014 statistics from the FRA cite an increase of 8.9 percent in crossing incidents and 16.4 percent in crossing-related deaths; crossing-related injuries fell 13.3 percent.
“Operation Lifesaver’s mission is to end collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and on rail property, so naturally we are extremely concerned about last year’s increase in incidents and deaths,” Rose notes. “It was imperative that we continue the ’See Tracks? Think Train!’ campaign with a new video to address this alarming trend.”
The VPSA will be distributed to TV stations in states where the most crossing collisions occurred last year, according to the FRA statistics. “Last year’s radio and video public announcements have reached a total potential audience of 225 million people, with more than 75,000 broadcasts, so we are hopeful that the new video will receive similar airtime, knowing how critical this safety message is for drivers of all ages,” adds Rose.
For more information on the “See Tracks? Think Train!” campaign, visit www.SeeTracksThinkTrain.org.
View and download the 2015 list of U.S. events for ILCAD (PDF format)
About Operation Lifesaver
Operation Lifesaver's mission is to end collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and along railroad rights of way. A national network of trained volunteers provides free presentations on rail safety. Learn more at http://www.oli.org Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
About International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD)
International Level Crossing Awareness Day began in 2009 in Europe to call attention to the need for public education on railway safety issues as a way to save lives. An international news conference will take place June 3 in Istanbul, Turkey, with experts from different countries and sectors, including road, rail, specialists in human factors and education. Learn more at www.ilcad.org.