Indiana Gov. Mike Pence declared Aug. 25-31 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 the public’s awareness about the dangers of disregarding railroad crossings laws and trespassing laws.
“Every collision between a vehicle or person and a train is 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. The laws about obeying railroad traffic control signals as well as the laws pertaining to pedestrians trespassing on railroad rights-of-way will be strictly enforced. We have to change the public’s mindset regarding rail safety. Lives can be saved!”
In 2012, there were 106 railroad crossing collisions resulting in 38 people injured and 17 fatalities in the state of Indiana. There were also 11 trespasser deaths last year. These numbers only reflect people who were injured or killed, not those people who broke the law and suffered no consequences. Indiana is currently ranked 4th nationally for railroad crossing collisions.
“We are constantly striving to improve the railroad crossings in Indiana,” said Feder. “However, more than 75 percent of the collisions at these public crossings occur where active warning devices, such as flashing lights and gates, exist. 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, visit oli.org or call 317-267-4011.