On Tuesday, Sept. 25 as part of the Rail Safety Week (RSW) observance, Sept. 23 through 29, California Operation Lifesaver, the nonprofit rail safety education organization, joined with Amtrak and more than 500 local, state, federal and railroad law enforcement departments for “Operation Clear Track.” The focus was to raise awareness and enforce railroad grade crossing and trespassing laws in 48 states across the U.S.
“Operation Clear Track” was the largest single law enforcement railroad safety operation ever attempted in the U.S.
During “Operation Clear Track,” California law enforcement personnel – including those from the Escalon Police Department in neighboring Escalon – were stationed at targeted railroad grade crossing incident locations to hand out railroad safety cards to motorists and pedestrians, and issue warnings and citations to violators. The goal of Rail Safety Week is to reduce pedestrian and driver injuries and fatalities around railroad tracks through increased public awareness.
Escalon Police were scheduled to be stationed at railroad crossings on First Street and Highway 120 in Escalon at various times throughout the day.
Statistics show that about every three hours in the United States, a person or vehicle is hit by a train. “Operation Clear Track” is an effort by California Operation Lifesaver, Amtrak and rail safety partner organizations to raise awareness of the need for caution near train tracks during Rail Safety Week, which is being observed in the U.S. and Canada from Sept. 23 through 29.
“No one should think it’s okay, even one time, to ignore grade crossing or trespassing laws on railroad property,” said Amtrak Police Chief Neil Trugman. “This safety detail will deliver that message … to try and stop these tragic rail-related incidents that occur every day in someone’s hometown.”
In California over the past five years, hundreds of people have been killed or injured in grade crossing and trespassing incidents. California Operation Lifesaver is participating in “Operation Clear Track” and other Rail Safety Week events to reduce these incidents and empower the state’s residents to keep themselves safe near tracks and train.
“Enforcement, education and engineering are our three best weapons against incidents involving trains,” said California Operation Lifesaver State Coordinator Nancy Sheehan. “While we have made strides in reducing deaths and injuries since our inception 46 years ago, the goal of Operation Clear Track and other Rail Safety Week activities is to empower citizens to keep themselves safe near tracks and trains. This year’s Rail Safety Week theme is ‘Stop Track Tragedies,’ and Operation Clear Track is an important part of our efforts.”
Operation Lifesaver is a non-profit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and preventing trespassing on or near railroad tracks. A national network of trained volunteers gives free presentations on rail safety and a public awareness campaign, “See Tracks? Think Train!” provides the public with tips and statistics to encourage safe behavior near the tracks. Learn more at oli.org; follow OLI on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.