The federal government has launched a new $6.6 million safety campaign to save lives at railroad grade crossings.
The Stop. Trains Can’t. campaign will run on radio, digital, and social media, educating drivers not to gamble with their lives at rail grade crossings.
“So many fatalities at highway-railway crossings are preventable; this campaign aims to raise public awareness and save lives,” U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao said in a news release.
Over the last five years, 798 people have died while trying to drive across railroad tracks. In 2019, 126 people were killed, and 635 people were injured at railroad crossings.
Of those killed, about 75 percent died after the driver went around lowered crossing gate arms.
“A train can’t swerve out of the way or stop on a dime,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens said in a news release. “We all have a responsibility to be safe while on the highways, and that means drivers must always look carefully before driving across train tracks and obey any warning signals or lowered crossing gate arms. Trying to beat a train could cost you your life.”
The campaign will target high-risk highway-railway crossings in Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Tennessee and Texas.
“Evolving technology will continue to help reduce fatalities at our nation’s rail grade crossings, but driver awareness is paramount to bringing down the fatality rate,” Ronald L. Batory, administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, said in a news release.