As you know, September is Rail Safety Month in California, and this week, September 23-29, 2018 is Rail Safety Week across the nation. Rail Safety Month is a time when we partner with member agencies, law enforcement, Operation Lifesaver and other rail operators to highlight safety at rail crossings and on the railroad right of way through education outreach and enforcement efforts.
We’ve been facilitating several events throughout the month working to change people’s behavior around train tracks and crossings with this life-saving message, “Stop Track Tragedies” as part of the Rail Safety Month awareness activities.
Nationally, every three hours a person or vehicle is hit by a train. Tragically, California had the highest number of trespass fatalities and casualties in 2017 in the country, while ranking second in the nation in crossing incidents. California is home to the nation’s two busiest ports, which results in freight trains across rail lines, in addition to increased passenger trains throughout densely populated areas where vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians cross.
Rail Safety Month is a team effort and we ask everyone to do their part in sharing knowledge, facts and stats that will hopefully deter unsafe behavior and reduce incidents across our rail system. Join us throughout the month as we host a variety of safety-focused events to remind you about rail safety!
Facts and Stats:
• Flashing red lights indicate a train is approaching from either direction. You can be fined for failure to obey these signals. Never walk around or behind lowered gates at a crossing, and do not cross the tracks until the lights have stopped flashing and it’s safe to do so.
• Lives are at stake. Vehicles at train crossings and pedestrians walking on tracks account for 95 percent of all rail-related deaths. Almost all of these deaths are preventable. Don’t become a statistic.
• More than 50 percent of people who die while walking on railroad tracks have alcohol or drugs in their system.
• By the time a locomotive engineer sees a trespasser or vehicle on the tracks it’s too late. It takes the average freight train traveling at 55 mph more than a mile-the length of 18 football fields-to stop.
• Stay alert around railroad tracks. No texting, headphones or other distractions that would prevent you from hearing an approaching train.