Lance's Journal: Operation Lifesaver, May 6, 2013

Many Americans take railroad crossing safety for granted. But the reality is, about every 3 hours in the U.S., a train and a vehicle or pedestrian collide.

A major reason for the reduced number of collisions over the years is an educational program called Operation Lifesaver. In 1972, 12,000 railroad crossing collisions took place in the United States.

Over the past 40 years, that number has declined by 83%, thanks to the dedication of Operation Lifesaver.

Union Pacific Spokesperson Mark Davis says public safety is job number one at the U.P., "Union Pacific started the grade crossing safety program used internationally now called Operation Lifesaver.

Last year in America, 239 people lost their lives at railroad crossings. Operation Lifesaver is working to eventually reduce that number to zero.

Carol Daley with Operation Lifesaver says when a train collides with a vehicle everyone suffers, "It is not the victim who is the only one involved. It is also the conductor and the engineer and their families."

U.P.'s Tom Hillyard says it's not just vehicle-related collisions that cause people to lose their lives at railroad crossings, "Railroads are private property. Last year in the United States 442 people lost their lives trespassing on railroad right of way. You've got senior picture takers, 4-wheelers, mushroom hunters, I think I've seen it all in my career of people out there where they shouldn't be."

Davis adds, "What we want you to do is heed the warning at a crossing and never take a chance."

Operation Lifesaver has 60 active speakers who are out giving FREE presentations throughout the year.

If you'd like them to teach your group how to "stay off, stay away and stay alive" go to and get signed up.