Every three hours, an individual or vehicle is hit by a train in the United States.
This week is Rail Safety Week, September 19-25, 2022, and the State Corporation Commission is joining forces with the state Operation Lifesaver programs and other rail safety entities throughout North America to spread awareness.
Pedestrians, motorists, bicyclists and others should use caution and remain safe when around railroad tracks and crossings.
“Rail safety is much more than just a single tip or slogan,” SCC’s Division of Utility and Railroad Safety’s Lauren Govoni said in a press release. “It’s a set of guidelines for different groups of people, including children, first responders, media professionals, photographers, personal and professional drivers, and more.”
Govoni and Virginia Operation Lifesaver Coordinator Tracey Lamb encourage Virginians to stay alert, use caution, obey signals around railroad tracks, and to always expect a train.
This week SCC partners with law enforcement and organizations throughout Virginia in an annual nationwide campaign to promote daily Rail Safety Week themes, including commuter and transit safety, crossing safety and professional drivers, trespass prevention and photographer safety. The campaign will also share potentially life-saving information on its website and social media pages.
Highway-rail grade crossings in the past 50 years have seen a 76 decrease in collisions, according to the press, but “there is still more rail safety awareness work to do,” Lamb said. “Trains can take a mile or more to come to a complete stop. If your vehicle ever stalls on the track, exit your vehicle immediately and call the phone number on the blue Emergency Notification System sign located at the crossing or call 911.”