Posts Tagged ‘Operation Lifesaver campaigns’

Pa., Indiana OLS Chapters Receive Grants

May 15, 2021

Operation Lifesaver chapters in Indiana and Pennsylvania will receive $200,000 in Federal Highway Administration grants for grade crossing safety education projects.

The projects entail launching public awareness campaigns and hosting events to provide safety tips to target audiences.

Many of these events will be conducted during Rail Safety Week, set for Sept. 20-26.

The projects will use advertising on radio, cable television and digital platforms; social media; geofencing, and personal outreach.

Also receiving grants were OLS chapters in California, Arizona, Kansas, Minnesota, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington state.

Posner Foundation Donates to Operation Lifesaver

February 25, 2021

The Posner Foundation of Pittsburgh said this week it will give Operation Lifesafer a $125,000 grant for 2021.

In a news release, OLI said that grant would be used to help fund expanded rail safety education campaigns throughout the United States.

This will include funding for a competitive grant program that helps to underwrite public education activities.

OLI is also working to provide funding for state programs to provide educational materials and for the rollout of OLI’s new Railroad Investigation and Safety Course.

NS to Expand Grade Crossing Safety Program in 2020

January 16, 2020

Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana are among nine states in which Norfolk Southern in cooperation with the Federal Railroad Administration and Operation Lifesaver is intensifying efforts to promote grade crossing safety and discourage trespassing on railroad property.

NS public safety director Will Miller described those efforts at a safety conference hosted by the FRA last year.

The Class 1 carrier began a pilot program last March to incorporate a grade crossing warning feature into Google’s Waze mobile navigation app.

The states chosen for the pilot program, which also include Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, have the highest number of vehicle-rail incidents.

“We looked at areas that had crossings that were close together, that had been problematic for us over time,” Miller said. “We worked with Waze to set up a parameter — which is 5 kilometers in radius — and anytime a Waze user is completely stopped within this targeted area, they will see a brief pop-up safety message.”

The pop-up messages say either “The train you see is closer and moving faster than you think” or “Trains go faster than you think; be cautious when crossing.”

Miller said the warning messages were kept brief to avoid becoming a distraction to drivers.

Safety officials say distracted driving is one factor behind an increase in grade crossing collisions in 2018, the latest year for which figures are available.

The FRA said there were 2,217 collisions at public and private crossings in the United States in 2018, which was up from 2,123 in 2017, 2,049 in 2016 and 2,080 in 2015.

Although the fatalities in those accidents fell to 262 in 2018 from 271 in 2017, the deaths in 2018 outpaced the figures in 2016 (255) and 2015 (237) and tied 2014’s total.

The FRA said these fatalities account for 95 percent of all U.S. rail-related fatalities each year.

Miller said that between March and September of last year, the NS warning campaign reached more than 1 million different Waze users.

“We have found that Waze is successful in providing motorist safety information within targeted areas to help motorists make good decisions at railroad crossings,” he said.

NS plans to expand its use of Waze this year in the nine states it has targeted. The carrier also is creating an online and social media campaign of public service announcements about how to safely cross railroad tracks.

During a November symposium hosted by the FRA, the agency described 16 “actionable” ideas for safety improvements that it is exploring.

The agency has proposed a rule for 40 states to create grade crossing action plans and for 10 other states that already have such plans to update them. Ohio and Indiana are among the latter states.

Although trespassing on railroad property can occur anywhere, an FRA study found nearly 75 percent of all trespasser deaths and injuries occurred within 1,000 feet of a grade crossing.

FRA officials also say they will continue to fund educational programs that help raise rail safety awareness, such as those promoted by Operation Lifesaver.

OLI Executive Director Rachel Maleh said at the FRA symposium that the increase in collisions and deaths at crossings is largely due to distracted motor vehicle drivers and pedestrians.

“People want to get to where they’re going quickly and they’re not paying attention,” Maleh says. “They don’t want to wait for a train at a crossing.”

Maleh said OLI has begun working with “nontraditional” partners to promote grade crossing safety.

She said this includes organizations that have a safety focus but may not be thinking specifically about railroad safety. An example of that are organizations that seek to discourage drunken driving.

OLI Campaign Seeks to Discourage Walking on Tracks

January 8, 2020

Operation Lifesaver has launched a public service  campaign focusing on preventing trespassing on railroad tracks.

“Walking on the railroad tracks is considered trespassing – it’s against the law,” said OLI Executive Director Rachel Maleh. “This new PSA [public service announcement] demonstrates, in a very compelling way, the potential dangers pedestrians put themselves in by being distracted and walking on or too close to the tracks.”

Maleh said the objective of the campaign is the to show the tragic consequences that can occur when people walk on railroad tracks, including deaths, serious injuries and near misses.

The announcement is being funded by railroads serving Chicago as well as the Posner Foundation of Pittsburgh.

OLI said it developed the PSA in response to a recent increase in railroad trespass incidents. Preliminary 2018 statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration show 1,014 total trespassing injuries and deaths, on par with the 1,014 incidents in 2017 and an increase from the 946 incidents in 2016.

For more information, go to oli.org/near-miss.