Groups reach out to promote railway safety

| Thursday, June 09, 2011

The goal of a new outreach program by groups that include OOIDA and Operation Lifesaver is to reduce vehicle-train collisions at railway grade crossings.

On Thursday, June 9, OOIDA played host for the rollout of Operation Lifesaver’s “Rail Safety for Professional Drivers” e-Learning program.

The program, available at oli.org, consists of an interactive “virtual road trip” that professional drivers can click through and put their skills and knowledge to the test about safety at railway crossings.

Also participating in the rollout were representatives of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Missouri Department of Transportation.

“At every crossing, always expect a train,” said MoDOT Railroad Administrator Rodney Massman. “Those are words to live by.”

Mac Braswell and Tom Crowley of OOIDA’s Business Assistance Department and OOIDA Senior Member Henry Albert were among the first to click through the program and form an impression.

“A lot of drivers may not think to turn the radio down and put the window down to listen at a railway crossing,” Crowley said.

“Most intersections are marked, but some rural crossings don’t have much more than an X. This program reminds us of the importance of expecting a train at every crossing. As a driver, you’ve got to make split-second decisions, and they have to be the appropriate decisions.”

Operation Lifesaver received a grant from the Federal Railroad Administration to build and promote the program. Operation Lifesaver conducted similar rollout events in Pennsylvania, Alabama, Texas and California this week.

“Railway safety is everyone’s responsibility,” added Tim Hull of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Statistics show that one-quarter of the vehicles involved in collisions with trains are trucks, including tractor-trailers.

“This reminds and reinforces to professional drivers that there are safety precautions they need to keep in mind all the time,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said.

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