Operation Lifesaver dedicates this week to keep you safe at railroad crossings. Micheal Clements shares more on why this week is important.
Clements: This week is Rail Safety Week, an opportunity to share information on how to be safe around railroad crossings by Operation Lifesaver and supported by American Farm Bureau. OLI Executive Director Rachel Maleh says Rail Safety Week promotes their work to keep you safe at rail crossings.
Maleh: Operation Lifesaver is a national nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. We have programs in 46 states as well as the District of Columbia, and we're all about educating the public on rail safety. So, Rail Safety Week is one week in September where we dedicate a different theme day to Rail Safety Week, it’s a culmination of our rail safety education that we do year-round.
Clements: It’s important to highlight safety around rail crossings because of the many incidents that happen at them each year.
Maleh: Every three hours there is an incident, either a person or a vehicle is struck in the United States. And according to the Federal Railroad Administration, in 2020, just under 2,000 grade crossing incidents happened, which resulted in 198 deaths and 688 injuries. That's really too much.
Clements: Maleh says farm and ranch crossings are typically private with no safety equipment, bringing additional dangers.
Maleh: And approximately 15 percent of all crossing collisions happen at a private railroad crossing each year, so it's especially important that drivers of farm vehicles are aware, they look both ways, they don't commit to the crossing if they can't quickly clear the crossing, and we also don't want them to get stuck in their farm equipment on the railroad track.
Clements: You can request a free rail safety presentation for your organization at oli.org. Micheal Clements, Washington.