Each year, highway-rail crashes
kill over 500 people.
Over 2,000 more are seriously
Operation Lifesaver is:
An active continuous public information and education program
to help prevent and reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities
and improve driver performance at the nation's 268,000 public
and private highway/rail grade crossings.
Why it is needed:
. . . Because thousands of people are seriously injured and
hundreds are killed in nearly 3,800 highway/rail grade crossing
crashes each year.
. . . Because a rail/highway grade crossing presents a unique
traffic environment for motorists, many drivers do not cross
railroad tracks often enough to be familiar with the warning
devices designed for their safety. Often they are unaware
that trains cannot stop as quickly as motor vehicles to avoid
a collision. Others simply ignore all warnings because they
are "in a hurry" and would rather play "beat
the train" than wait. Driver ignorance and impatience
are the most common factors contributing to motor vehicle/train
collisions at highway/rail grade crossings.
When it began:
. . . Operation Lifesaver began in Idaho in 1972 after community
leaders and the railroad together developed a public education
program to avoid tragedies by urging people to make safe decisions
at highway-rail grade crossings. At the end of the first year,
Idaho's highway-rail grade crossing fatality rate dropped
by 39 percent.
. . . A second program, initiated in Nebraska, demonstrated
even more impressive results after a one-year period -- a
46 percent reduction in rail/highway grade crossing fatalities.
. . . In recent years, the program has been expanded to encourage
safety on rail rights-of-way with the slogan, "Stay Off!
Stay Away! Stay Alive!"
Where it is active:
. . . All states have their own Operation Lifesaver programs.
It is at the grassroots level -- in the cities, in rural communities,
and in the schools where Operation Lifesaver has been most
effective. States have reported fatality reductions at highway/rail
grade crossings ranging from 28 percent to 100 percent one
year after establishing the program.
Who gets involved:
. . . The nation's railroads, related federal, state, and
local governments, business, railroad suppliers, labor, civic
and community leaders and other concerned safety professionals
are all part of state programs. But it doesn't end there.
Any person including yourself and your organization, is welcome
to join a state program or become involved at the local level
doing whatever you can to help educate motorists that they
need to exercise greater care when driving across highway/rail
How you can help:
. . . As we've said, the key to the success of Operation Lifesaver
is through participation at the grassroots level. You can
become involved by contacting Operation Lifesaver, Inc. or
your state Operation Lifesaver Coordinator. Your local PTA,
church, women's club, civic or fraternal organizations to
which you belong may want to be part of Operation Lifesaver.