In the year since a truck-train tragedy at Bourbonnais, Ill., Operation Lifesaver and its safety partners have developed a new truck driver safety video and training module. "Your License or Your Life" came about to help prevent future catastrophes at highway-rail grade crossings.
New federal regulations specify a 60-day suspension from driving for those convicted of disobeying highway-railroad crossing laws. Information about this and "what-to-do-to-avoid" five critical driving situations at railroad crossings are included in the video.
"A little precaution goes a long way when it comes to crossing railroad tracks safely," Operation Lifesaver President Gerri Hall said. "This training program stresses prevention by providing drivers with a step-by-step plan for safety before, during and after they cross the tracks."
"Approximately 25 percent of all highway-rail grade crossing collisions involve trucks," said Jolene Molitoris, administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, "and this truck driver safety video is an important new educational tool to help increase safety among commercial drivers.
"The video outlines some of the common scenarios that cause highway-rail grade crossing incidents, and instructs truck drivers on how to avoid them. It will help us to reach our goal of zero tolerance for incidents, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings."
Vickie Carpenter, an American Trucking Associations' America's Road Team captain who participated in the video, said, "As a truck driver, it is of utmost importance to me that our roads are as safe as they can be. I am happy to play a role in getting this message about safety at railroad crossings out to other truck drivers. If we can get even a few drivers to improve their habits after watching this video, all motorists will benefit."
A copy of the video, Your License or Your Life, will be available on the American Trucking Associations' Web site, www.truckline.com. Copies of the truck driver safety training kit will be available at the beginning of April. For more information, contact Operation Lifesaver at (800) 537-6224 or visit its Web site at www.oli.org.
Operation Lifesaver, which has programs in 49 states, has been credited with helping to save 10,000 lives and preventing 40,000 injuries since its inception in 1972 in Idaho. It is a nationwide, nonprofit, public information organization dedicated to reducing collisions, injuries and fatalities at highway-rail grade crossings and on railroad rights-of-way, tracks and trestles.
Operation Lifesaver programs have helped to reduce crashes and fatalities by more than 70 percent since it was created, even though vehicular and train traffic both have increased by more than 20 percent, just in the last decade.