Operation Lifesaver testifies on its role in rail safety at House Railroad Subcommittee hearing

OLI President Helen Sramek testifying before the House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials.

WASHINGTON, DC, April 7, 2011 – Helen M. Sramek, President of Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (www.oli.org), today testified on the organization’s role in improving safety around railroad tracks and trains at a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials.

“Operation Lifesaver exists because of a startling fact – about every three hours in the United States, a person or a vehicle is hit by a train.  We are the only nationwide public rail safety organization whose sole mission is to save lives and reduce injuries at highway-rail crossings and on or around railroad tracks,” Sramek testified. 

The trained and certified volunteers who provide free Operation Lifesaver safety presentations nationwide are one of the nonprofit group’s greatest strengths, Sramek noted.  Asserting that safety is a shared responsibility between the public and private sectors, Sramek discussed Operation Lifesaver’s mission to carry out its railroad public safety information and educational programs in all 50 states.

She noted several reasons why Operation Lifesaver’s contributions are important, including:

·         The past 10 years alone have seen a drop of 38% in crossing collisions, 38% in crossing-related fatalities, and 30% in crossing injuries – gains resulting from improvements at crossings, elimination of highway-rail grade crossings, targeted enforcement efforts, and public safety education programs, including the sustained efforts of Operation Lifesaver.

·         Operation Lifesaver develops community and state-wide projects that match a modest investment of federal dollars with private contributions or in-kind support.

·         Freight rail traffic is increasing as the economy improves; more passenger, commuter and light rail systems are coming on-line, exposing the public to more risk if they are unaware of the dangers at crossings and along rail lines.

·         Greater use of personal technology in cars and by pedestrians has created a more distracted public, inattentive to risks in all travel modes and the need for better decision making.

 “In the four decades since its founding in 1972, OLI’s grassroots network has become part of the national rail safety solution through partnerships, presentations, organized media events, and more recently, enhanced use of technology through web-based training.

“I urge members of Congress to maintain your investment in this national Operation Lifesaver program,” Sramek concluded, “because as the need for safe transportation grows, so does the value of Operation Lifesaver.” 

About Operation Lifesaver

Operation Lifesaver's mission is to end collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and along railroad rights of way. A national network of certified volunteers provides free presentations on rail safety. Learn more at www.oli.org.


Media Contact

Operation Lifesaver, Inc. understands the importance of the news media’s role in helping the public make safe decisions around tracks and trains.

To request further information about Operation Lifesaver’s activities, or for additional safety information, email general[at]oli.org or contact our national headquarters office at 703-739-0308.

If you are a reporter seeking information for a local news story, view our list of state Operation Lifesaver program contacts.

If you are on deadline for a story and would like Operation Lifesaver, Inc.'s perspective on a highway-rail safety or trespass prevention topic, email news[at]oli.org

About Operation Lifesaver

Operation Lifesaver is a nonprofit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and trespassing on or near railroad tracks. Our team consists of nationwide network of volunteers who work to educate people about rail safety, state coordinators who lead the efforts in states across the U.S. and a national office in Washington, D.C., that supports state programs, develops education materials, and creates public awareness campaigns for audiences of all ages. 


National Office

Operation Lifesaver, Inc.
425 Third Street SW, Suite 915
Washington, D.C. 20024

Fax: 703-519-8267
Email : [email protected]

Media Inquiries: [email protected]

Transit Inquiries: [email protected]

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