Categories: Safety Tips
As part of our rail safety mission, Operation Lifesaver works with all kinds of drivers to ensure they are equipped with safety tips in order to be safe at railroad crossings. Professional drivers of tractor trailers have long been a very important group for rail safety messages. Big rigs are involved in approximately 16 percent of all crossing collisions, according to Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) statistics, so they are a major target audience for OL education and outreach programs.
Operation Lifesaver launched Pro Driver Challenge, an interactive virtual experience designed specifically for the professional driver, in 2011. More than 23,000 drivers across the country have participated through Operation Lifesaver’s website, with more than 7,000 completing the entire challenge. And thousands more have taken the challenge through their trucking companies.
Pro Driver Challenge is a great way for drivers to learn the dos and don’ts of getting their rigs safely across train tracks while not actually being behind the wheel. It leads drivers through three different virtual driving scenarios involving train tracks. When drivers who have taken the challenge go back out on the road, the videogame-type training experience stays with them – so staying safe at each crossing becomes second nature.
But what’s a driver to do if their tractor trailer gets stuck on train tracks? Operation Lifesaver is rolling out new materials, including radio PSAs and ads especially designed to let professional drivers know what to do in this emergency situation. The PSAs will debut on radio stations in Texas, Pennsylvania, Arkansas and North Dakota, with other states and stations to follow, while the ads will be featured at truck stops and fueling stations.
We hope these three simple steps featured in the new campaign stick with all pro drivers if they get stuck:
1) Get out of your truck
2) Get away from the tracks
3) Call the number on the emergency sign at the crossing
The emergency sign refers to the Emergency Notification System sign present at all railroad crossings, which features a phone number and crossing identification number.
Tractor trailer/train collisions fell nearly 18 percent in 2015, based on preliminary statistics from the FRA. We’re hoping continued outreach to this important group will help drop those numbers even further.