Posts Tagged ‘railroad safety campaigns’

FRA Safety Program Has Had Few Takers

November 26, 2022

A voluntary program of the Federal Railroad Administration to report situations that could have resulted in serious accidents has received little participation.

The U.S. General Accountability Office said that through August 2022, just 23 of the almost 800 U.S railroads have participated in the Confidential Close Call Reporting System.

The program seeks to improve safety by collecting voluntary and confidential reports from railroad employees describing unsafe situations with the potential for more serious consequences.

Those carriers that did participate in the program found notable flaws in it, the GAO report said.

Examples of situations that could be reported include but are not limited to: a train missing a temporary speed restriction, a train going beyond the authorized maximum speed, equipment or signal failure, running through a misaligned switch, and improper track protection during track maintenance.

Generally, Class 1 railroads are not participating in the program either because they have their own similar safety reporting program or they have concerns about confidentiality.

The program is administered by the FRA and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration,

The GAO report found those agencies follow best practices in doing analysis, but have been less successful in communicating the results, particularly beyond participants, to the wider rail industry.

The FRA agreed with two GAO recommendations that would provide better communication of safety information and success stories stemming from the  program.

OLI Campaign Targets Farm Equipment

January 24, 2022

Operation Lifesaver is targeting farmers and operators of large farm equipment in its latest safety campaign.

The organization has created material designed to help operators of farm machinery avoid incidents around railroad tracks.

The materials include auto and video public service announcements, rail safety presentations, and a rail safety sticker.

The campaign has a particular focus on such youth organizations as 4-H and the Future Farmers of America.

In a news release announcing the program, OLO noted that 2020 preliminary Federal Railroad Administration statistics showed that 325 crossing collisions occurred at private rail crossings and resulted in 22 fatalities and 111 injuries.

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.

2 Federal Agencies Launch Grade Crossing Safety Campaign

October 9, 2020

Two federal agencies have teamed up to launch a national railroad grade crossing safety campaign.

The Federal Railroad Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are overseeing the $6.6 million campaign has been titled “Stop. Trains Can’t.”

The campaign will use radio and online messages to raise public awareness that many fatalities at highway-railway crossings are preventable

A news release noted that over the past five years 798 people have been killed at grade crossings.

Targeted in the campaign, which will run through Nov. 8, are drivers in Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Tennessee and Texas.

OLI Releases Materials Aimed at Children

October 7, 2020

Operation Lifesaver has released educational materials aimed at children ages 5 to 13.

The materials seek to teach children the importance of making safe choices around trains and tracks, OLI said in a news release.

The resources are free and designed to be viewed virtually from home, school, on laptops, tables, desktops and mobile devices.

OLI said the materials are designed to engage children with narrative stories, active play and characters that children can identify with.

The programs are available on the OL For Kids section of OLI’s website.

OLI Launches Rail Safety Week

September 22, 2020

Operation Lifesaver launched its annual Rail Safety Week on Monday with a series of events and activities designed to highlight safe behavior on and near railroad property.

The event will include events in Canada and Mexico.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the events in the United States will be virtual and use social media.

Numerous communities have issued rail safety week proclamations and law enforcement and first responder representatives will speak about safety and anti-trespass laws.

On Friday (Sept. 25) participants will wear red for “Red Out for Rail Safety” to show support for safety near tracks and trains.

Other planned events will feature safe practices at grade crossings and at commuter rail and transit stations.

The week will wrap up on Sunday (Sept. 27) with an emphasis on discouraging professional and amateur photographers from illegally taking photos, videos or film on railroad tracks.

Short Line Safety Program Lauded

June 3, 2020

A study released by the Federal Railroad Administration has lauded a safety initiative of the Short Line Safety Institute.

The FRA said the Culture Assessment process and follow-up support holds promise for strengthening railroad safety cultures.

The study found overall safety improvements in six of 10 core elements of a strong safety culture.

In a news release, the SLSI said the FRA study analyzed initial and follow-up reports, evaluating the results of actions taken by two subject railroads involved in the SCA process over two years.

In both instances, the institute identified multiple opportunities for the railroads with both carriers taking steps to implement a majority of the recommendations.

SLSI officials said that based on the results of assessments, the institute identified common opportunities for short lines to improve safety culture and developed programs to address them, such as hazardous materials transportation training and leadership development training.

The institute also created a best practices guide for use by other railroads and has provided 88 assessments for short lines to date.

OLI Grants Awarded to Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania

April 24, 2020

Grants totaling $200,525 have been awarded to Operation Lifesaver chapters in 15 states including Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

The funds are being provided in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration and will be used for rail crossing safety and trespass prevention public education projects.

Additional funding of $45,000 was provided by the Posner Foundation of Pittsburgh and will be awarded to OLI chapters in three additional states.

Other OLI chapters receiving grants are located in California, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, North Carolina, Arizona, Texas and Washington.

Individual awards will range from $4,500 to $20,000 and were decided through a competitive process, with selection based on criteria such as using federal funds in tandem with private partnerships, targeted messaging and states with an increased number of pedestrian-train incidents and highway-rail collisions.

FRA to Hold Regional Safety Workshops

October 9, 2019

Six regional workshops will be held by the Federal Railroad Administration as part of the agency’s program to find ways to reduce what it termed an alarming increase in the number of fatalities along railroad rights-of-way.

The workshops will be held in the San Francisco Bay region, Southern California, Los Angeles, Chicago, South Florida and Houston.

The FRA said these areas are in the 10 counties with the most incidents.

Dates and exact locations for the workshops have yet to be announced.

FRA officials said trespasser fatalities increased nearly 40 percent in the first half of 2019 compared with the same period a year earlier.

The FRA is also conducting a Grade Crossing Technology Symposium in Washington on Nov. 19 to highlight new technologies for grade crossing warning systems.

Other efforts underway that seek to reduce railroad right of way fatalities involve suicide prevention efforts and campaigns to discourage “selfie” photography along the tracks.

NS Partners With WAZE in Crossing Safety Campaign

September 26, 2019

Norfolk Southern will launch a pilot safety campaign to focus on grade crossing incident prevention at six locations including cities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Kentucky.

The carrier said it will partner with mobile navigation application WAZE to target drivers with messages promoting safety at and near railroad crossings.

Receiving special attention will be Toledo, Ohio; Gary, Indiana; Louisville, Kentucky; and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

NS noted that in Gary there have been 28 grade crossing incidents at nine crossings since 1990. Toledo has had 14 incidents at seven crossings since 1981, the east side of Louisville has recorded 40 incidents at 12 crossings since 2000, and in Allegheny County there have been six incidents at five crossings since 2007.

NS said it will use WAZE to provide drivers near railroad crossings with messages promoting grade crossing safety information.

The application will deliver banner notifications to WAZE users who cross into a “geo fence” encompassing several traditionally problem crossings in the targeted areas.

The messages will be sent even if a driver does not drive across a grade crossing.

The notifications will include a crossbuck graphic and a grade crossing safety-inspired message, along with a link to a website with more railroad safety information.

To avoid contributing to distracted driving, the notifications will be delivered once the user’s vehicle stops.

WAZE has 30 million users in the United States and is free to download.

The pilot program will run through the end of 2019.