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Operation Lifesaver, Inc. Reminds the Public to Make Safe Choices Around Tracks and Trains

By Operation Lifesaver

WASHINGTON, DC, February 23, 2023 – As national media attention focuses on railroads in the wake of a recent derailment, rail safety education nonprofit Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI) is reminding the public to stay away and stay off tracks, obey traffic warning signs and make safe choices around tracks and trains.

“Only trains belong on tracks. It’s illegal and dangerous for people to walk on or be too close to railroad tracks, which are private property,” said OLI Executive Director Rachel Maleh. “Vehicle-train collisions at railroad crossings and pedestrians walking on tracks account for 95% of all rail-related deaths. When you see tracks, always think train! Stay off, stay away and stay safe.”

Maleh said that drivers and pedestrians should know these facts:

  • Railroad tracks and the area around them are private property. Being on and near the tracks is dangerous and illegal.
  • Trains can run on any track, at any time, in either direction.
  • Trains are quieter, moving faster and may be closer than they appear - like an airplane that appears to be hanging still in the sky.
  • Trains cannot stop quickly or swerve. There is no steering wheel and it can take the average freight train traveling 55 MPH a mile or more to stop – the length of 18 football fields.
  • Trains always have the right-of-way. Only trains belong on tracks.
  • On trestles (train bridges) and in tunnels there is only room for the train.
  • Trains overhang tracks.
  • Multiple tracks may mean multiple trains.
  • More than 60% of vehicle-train collisions occur at active railroad crossings with either crossing lights or gates.

“Operation Lifesaver has dedicated state coordinators and volunteers in 47 states and Washington, DC promoting rail safety through education and public awareness efforts supporting the 3 E’s: education, engineering and enforcement,” Maleh continued. “Everyone can do something to make their community saferKnow the facts. Make good choices. Share the rail safety message. Visit our website at Request a FREE safety presentation. Volunteer with OLI to share the rail safety message in your community. Check out our wonderful library of rail safety resources. And take the rail safety pledge. Together, we can make a difference.”

About Operation Lifesaver 

Operation Lifesaver is a non-profit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to stopping track tragedies. For more than 50 years, Operation Lifesaver programs have saved lives via public awareness campaigns and a network of trained volunteers across the U.S. who give free presentations encouraging safe behavior near railroad tracks and trains. The Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI) national office supports the efforts of state programs in 47 states and the District of Columbia. Explore OLI's virtual library of rail safety materials on the website. Learn more about OLI, the annual observance of Rail Safety Week, how to request a free presentation and become a volunteer.  Follow OLI on social media via Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube.  


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