The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), agencies of the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), recently relaunched a $5.6 million railroad crossing public safety awareness campaign (). The Stop. Trains Can’t campaign emphasizes the importance of drivers’ taking extra precautions at highway-rail grade crossings.
Of the 270 fatalities at railroad crossings in 2018, 99 people were killed after the driver maneuvered around lowered crossing gates, the most in more than a decade. “So many fatalities at highway-railway crossings are preventable, and this campaign is key to raising public awareness and saving lives,” U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao said.
A train strikes a person or vehicle at a railroad crossing every four hours in the United States. In the last five years, nearly 800 people have been killed attempting to drive a vehicle across railroad tracks.
The Stop. Trains Can’t campaign reminds drivers to be cautious of approaching trains when crossing railroad tracks, particularly when encountering flashing lights or lowered gates. Because of their immense size and weight, trains cannot easily avoid vehicles on the tracks. Trains cannot swerve around obstacles and can require over a mile to stop, even after the application of emergency brakes.
“We are pleased to collaborate with our colleagues at NHTSA to improve driver behavior at highway-rail crossings and reduce preventable injuries and deaths,” FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory said. “Rail safety isn’t just about the safe movement of passenger and freight trains; it’s also about helping the American public be safe near railroad tracks.”
“Road safety is NHTSA’s mission, and too many lives are lost every year when drivers disregard safety warnings at rail crossings,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi R. King said. “Working with Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao and FRA, we want every American to understand the danger surrounding rail crossings and to act with safety in mind. Trying to save a few minutes can cost you your life.”
The campaign, which ran from April 16, 2019, through May 12, 2019, included video spots, radio advertising, and social media messaging, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Although available nationwide, the campaign’s advertising targeted high-incident communities in sixteen states, including Missouri.
You’ve probably already heard or seen the ads from the campaign on your local radio or television station, but if you haven’t, the Stop. Trains Can’t video can be viewed . If you have been injured in a railroad crossing accident, it is critical that you hire an experienced attorney. Please call DBJ today at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation.