Southeastern Railway Museum participates in Rail Safety Week

(Photo by Todd DeFeo)

Buckling up when driving and using sidewalks rather than walking in the middle of the road are common-sense safety habits. Unfortunately, many drivers and pedestrians overlook another potential safety hazard: driving or walking near train tracks.

Consider that 95 percent of rail-related incidents in the United States involve vehicle-train collisions at railroad crossings or people on the tracks being struck by trains. Government statistics show that a vehicle or person is hit by a train every three hours in this country.

Rail Safety Tips
  1. Look and listen for trains as you approach any railroad crossing — obey all signs, warning lights and gates.
  2. Trains are quieter and faster than you think — never try to beat a train.
  3. Because of their size and weight, it can take a mile or more to stop a train.
  4. Always expect a train on any track, in any direction; avoid distractions when you approach a crossing.
  5. Rail property is private property. Walking on the tracks is illegal and dangerous.

Source: Operation Lifesaver

The Numbers

Since 2009, approximately 20,000 Americans have been killed or seriously injured because they were involved in unsafe behavior at railroad crossings, or were illegally walking, playing or taking photos on train tracks.

These incidents have devastating consequences for families, communities and train crew members. Virtually all of them are preventable.

Crossing Statistics, U.S. Totals

Collisions Deaths Injuries
2017 2,122 271 844
2018 2,214 270 819
% change +4.3% 0.0% -2.9%

Trespass Statistics, U.S.

Collisions Deaths Injuries
2017 1,021 510 511
2018 1,050 571 479
% change +2.8% +12.0% -6.3%

Rail Safety Week

To raise awareness about the need for caution near tracks and trains, the rail safety nonprofit organization Operation Lifesaver in the U.S.and Canada worked together to launch a public safety education campaign, #STOPTrackTragedies, during Rail Safety Week, held the last week of September.

This campaign highlights personal stories of those affected by rail incidents — including victims, friends, family, and local communities from across North America. Help spread the rail safety message by visiting and sharing the videos with friends and neighbors.

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