Governor Mike Pence declared August 24 through August 30, 2014 as Indiana Rail Safety Week. Indiana Operation Lifesaver, Indiana State Police, Indiana Department of Transportation, local law enforcement and railroad companies have partnered together to raise public awareness about the dangers of disregarding railroad crossings laws and trespassing on railroad property.
“Collisions between vehicles and trains are completely preventable,” states Jessica Feder, Executive Director of Indiana Operation Lifesaver. “Indiana law enforcement agencies and railroad special agents will be out monitoring railroad crossings during Indiana Rail Safety Week. After the video from Indiana Rail Road was released of the two women trespassing, we are hoping to change the public’s mindset regarding rail safety. Rail Safety Week is a great opportunity to get our message out there!”
Indiana Operation Lifesaver has scheduled numerous enforcement blitzes throughout Indiana involving law enforcement agencies. There will also be PSA’s throughout the state, safety information distributed at college campuses, posters on SouthShore trains and at stations, Operation Lifesaver night at the Gary RailCats baseball game, and media coverage of events. INDOT will also have rail safety messages on the dynamic message boards along major roads. Indiana is taking a proactive lead in the elimination of trespassing and pedestrian fatalities at railroad crossings.
In 2013, there were 90 railroad crossing collisions resulting in 32 people injured and 16 fatalities in the state of Indiana. Indiana is currently ranked 5th nationally for railroad crossing collisions. The Hoosier State had 19 trespasser deaths last year as well as 19 injuries. The trespassing problem is growing rapidly in 18-35 year old population throughout Indiana.
“We are constantly striving to improve our statistics with both crossing collisions and trespasser incidents,” said Jessica Feder. “We encourage everyone to take these warning devices seriously and pay attention at all railroad crossings. It’s the law!”
Indiana Operation Lifesaver is a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade intersections and on railroad rights-of-way through public education, engineering and enforcement. To learn more about Indiana Operation Lifesaver, please visit us online at www.oli.org or call 812-528-4327.