According to a press release from Union Pacific (UP), the railroad’s safety programs have contributed to a 5 percent decline in vehicle-train collisions at crossings for the first half of 2017, as compared to last year.
RALEIGH, N.C. – America’s railroads want five more years to stop train wrecks using a high-tech system costing more than $15 billion.
But experts tell The Associated Press that it won’t keep trains and trucks from crashing together unless both industries use a common-sense solution available right away: actually talking with each other before crossing into each other’s territory.
WASHINGTON – The Association of American Railroads (AAR) June 3 announced that North America’s freight railroads will host events in multiple cities across the country in observance of the sixth-annual International Level Crossing Day (ILCAD) aimed at raising public awareness about safe behavior around railroad grade crossings.
“Safety is the foundation for everything we do, and supporting ILCAD gives railroads another opportunity to help educate the public about being safe around grade crossings,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger. “Education and outreach are key to saving lives, so it’s up to all of us to spread the word and make people aware of the consequences of risky behavior around railroad tracks. One accident because someone was in a hurry or looking to save time is one accident too many.”
Across North America, freight railroads, community leaders, law enforcement and Operation Lifesaver, Inc., (OLI) are hosting grade crossing safety awareness events and conducting promotional outreach across the country. This includes things such as:
“Officer on a Train” rides where law enforcement officers are invited to ride on trains and observe motorist behavior at crossings;
train safety displays in passenger and commuter rail stations;
participation in local television shows and children’s programs, and
distribution of literature about railroad safety and a safety program targeting truck drivers.
Railroads have worked with communities and law enforcement to promote grade crossing safety and commit significant resources each year to educate the public on grade crossing and pedestrian safety. This includes the “See Tracks? Think Train!” campaign recently launched jointly by AAR and OLI.
These efforts have helped reduce grade crossing collisions and fatalities over the years, with grade crossing collisions in 2013 down 80 percent since 1980 and grade crossing fatalities down 70 percent since 1980. Grade crossing infrastructure improvements also help improve safety. Since 1980, the total number of public grade crossings has declined 40 percent, and the number of crossings with gates has increased 177 percent.
The ILCAD Campaign was established in 2009 by the international railroad community in conjunction with various highway organizations, the European Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) to raise awareness among road users and pedestrians of the risks at grade crossings. To date, more than 40 countries around the world have participated in ILCAD. For more information on International Level Crossing Awareness Day, please go to www.ilcad.org.