Commemorating 46 years of helping to reduce Highway-Rail Crossing Collisions and Trespassing Incidents in Georgia
Operation Lifesaver Mission
Operation Lifesaver is a national, non-profit education and awareness program dedicated to ending tragic collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and on railroad rights of way. To accomplish its mission, Operation Lifesaver promotes 3 E's of safety:
Education: Operation Lifesaver strives to increase public awareness about the dangers around the rails. The program seeks to education both drivers and pedestrians to make safe decisions at crossings and around railroad tracks.
Enforcement: Operation Lifesaver promotes active enforcement of traffic laws relating to crossing signs and signals and private property laws related to trespassing.
Engineering: Operation Lifesaver encourages continued engineering research and innovation to improve the safety of railroad crossings.
Operation Lifesaver History
Operation Lifesaver started in Idaho in 1972 when the national average of collisions at highway-rail crossings exceeded 12,000 annually. A six-week public awareness campaign called "Operation LifeSaver" was sponsored by the office of Governor Cecil Andrus, the Idaho Peace Officers and Union Pacific Railroad as a one-time, one-state initiative.
During the campaign's first year, Idaho's crossing-related fatalities dropped by 43 percent. The next year, the Operation Lifesaver campaign spread to Nebraska where their collision rate was reduced by 26 percent.
Programs were started in Kansas and Georgia the following year, in 1974, and similar success was experienced. Georgia reduced their crossing-related fatalities by 64 percent the first year.
Between 1978 and 1986, while Operation Lifesaver operated under the auspices of the National Safety Council (NSC), other states started independent Operation Lifesaver programs. In 1986, the national program was released from the NSC and incorporated as a national, non-profit, educational organization with IRS Code 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.
Georgia Operation Lifesaver History
Georgia Operation Lifesaver began in 1974, under the auspices of the Georgia Safety Council, until 1988 when a full-time state coordinator was retained to re-organize the state program. Georgia Operation Lifesaver is now incorporated in the state of Georgia as a non-profit, tax-exempt, educational organization for highway-rail grade crossing safety and trespass prevention.
Currently, there are over 70 active affiliate members including federal, state and local governmental agencies; businesses (including the state's railroads); civic and service organizations; and other volunteer groups dedicated to safety at grade crossings and around tracks.
Free programs are presented to schools, businesses and civic organizations as well as specialized programs for school bus drivers, professional drivers, law enforcement and emergency responders. Over 100 Operation Lifesaver Authorized Volunteers (OLAVs) facilitate free presentations to educate children and adults about rail safety. To request a free presentation, or to learn more about Operation Lifesaver, please contact us.
GA OL Events
NOTE: This is a tentative list of special activities and exhibit events (subject to change) and does not include general OL public presentations at schools and businesses. Please call 770-393-2711 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for updates or changes as new activities are added daily, or for more information on any of the listed events.
2020 Upcoming Events:
January 6-29: Mike Glenn Exhibit, Decatur Library, Decatur
January 16: OLI State Town Hall meeting
January 18: Railroad Merit Badge Clinic at SRM, Duluth
January 21-23: GA Sheriffs’ Association Conference, Cobb Galleria
January 25-26: "Trains, Trains, Trains" at Southern Museum, Kennesaw
January 31: FFY-2021 GOHS Grant Application due; and OL State Annual Report due to OLI
February 5: OLI Grant Webinar
February 5: Crisp County Catfish Fry at GA Freight Railroad Depot
February 10-12: GA Assoc. of Chiefs of Police Conference, Jekyll Island
February 14: Valentine's Day (give Jennie chocolates)
February 17: National Presidents Day
February 29: OL Night at the Atlanta Gladiators, Gwinnett County Arena
March 3: Georgia OL Quarterly Membership Meeting, TMC Building
March 8: Daylight Savings Time Begins
March 10: East Cobb Lion's Club Presentation
March 17: St. Patrick's Day presentation
March 19: First Day of Spring!
March 28: No. GA Live Steamers, Conyers
GA OL Safety Partners
AAA Auto Club South
Allstate Insurance Company
Association of American Railroads (AAR)
Athens Line, The
Atlanta Electrical Contractors Association
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
Chattahoochee Industrial Railroad
Chattooga & Chickamauga Railway Co.
CSX DePriest Signal Shop
Dixie Precast, Inc.
First Coast Railway
Full Service Railroad Consulting, Inc.
Fulton County Railway
General Motors Company
Genesee & Wyoming Rail
Georgia & Florida Railway
Georgia Association of Broadcasters
Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police
Georgia Association of Railroad Passengers
Georgia Building Authority
Georgia Central Railway, Vidalia
Georgia Department of Driver Services
Georgia Department of Education
Georgia Department of Labor
Georgia DPS/Georgia State Patrol
Georgia Department of Transportation
Georgia Emergency Management Agency
Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety
Georgia Midlands Railroad Company, Inc.
Georgia Motor Trucking Association
Georgia Northeastern Railroad, Marietta
Georgia Peace Officers Standards & Training
Georgia Power Company
Georgia Rail Passenger Authority
Georgia Railroad Association
Georgia Sheriffs' Association
Georgia Southwestern Railroad
Georgia Woodlands Railroad
Golden Isle Terminal Railroad
Great Walton Railroad, Social Circle
Hapeville Historical Society
Hartwell Railroad Company
HDR Engineering, Inc.
Heart of Georgia Railroad (HOG)
Johnson Railway Service, Cornelia
Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit (MARTA)
Nat'l. Assoc. of Railway Business Women
Nat'l. Assoc. of Women Highway Safety Leaders
Nat'l. Emergency Number Assoc. (Georgia)
Nat'l. Model Railroad Assoc./Piedmont
Nat'l. Railway Historical Society (NRHS):
-- Atlanta Chapter
-- North Georgia Chapter
-- Savannah Chapter
National Safety Council/Atlanta
National Transportation Safety Board
Norfolk Southern Corporation
North Central Georgia Law Enf. Academy
Peace Officers Association of Georgia
Rail Sciences, Inc.
Riceboro Southern Railway, Lyons
Roosevelt Railroad, Griffin
St. Marys Railroad, St. Marys
SAM Shortline (Georgia DNR)
Sandersville Railroad Company
Savannah Port Terminal Railroad
Six Flags over Georgia
Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History
Stone Mountain Park
3M Traffic Control
Tifton Terminal Railway Museum
United Parcel Service (UPS)
U. S. Department of Agriculture/Forest Service
U. S. Department of Transportation:
-- Federal Highway Administration
-- Federal Railroad Administration
-- Federal Transit Administration
-- Nat'l. Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Valdosta Railway, Lake Park
GA OL Statistics
Preliminary 2018 Statistics*
Approximately every three hours, either a vehicle or a pedestrian is struck by a train in the United States. That's 8 incidents each day!
A motorist is 20 times more likely to die in a crash involving a train than in a collision involving another motor vehicle.
There are approximately 212,000 public, private and pedestrian at-grade highway-rail crossings in the United States (of this total, 130,000 are public crossings.)*
More people die in highway-rail grade crossing crashes in the United States each year than in all commercial and general aviation crashes combined.
Nearly 50 percent of vehicle/train collisions occur at crossings with active warning devices (gates, lights, bells)
Most crashes occur within 25 miles of the motorist's home.
Trains CANNOT stop quickly.
Average freight train stopping distance: 55 mph = a mile or more or 18 football fields!
8-car passenger train stopping distance: 79 mph = a mile or more or 18 football fields!
The majority of highway-rail crashes occur when the train is traveling less than 30 mph.
Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and equipment are private property. Walking or playing on them is illegal – trespassers are subject to arrest and fines. Too often the penalty is death.
*2018 Federal Railroad Administration preliminary statistics (www.fra.dot.gov).
Operation Lifesaver Driving Tips
Never drive around lowered gates – it's illegal and deadly. If you suspect a signal is malfunctioning, call the 1-800 number posted on or near the crossing signal or your local law enforcement agency.
Never race a train to the crossing – even if you tie, you lose.
Do not get trapped on the tracks. Only proceed through a highway-rail grade crossing if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping. Remember, the train is three feet wider than the tracks on both sides.
If your vehicle stalls on a crossing, immediately get everyone out and far away from the tracks. Call your local law enforcement agency for assistance. Look for a 1-800 emergency notification number nearby to contact the railroad.
At a multiple track crossing waiting for a train to pass, watch out for a second train on the other tracks, approaching in either direction.
ALWAYS EXPECT A TRAIN! Freight trains do not follow set schedules.
Be aware that trains cannot stop quickly. Even if the locomotive engineer sees you, a freight train moving at 55 miles per hour can take a mile or more to stop once the emergency brakes are applied. That's 18 football fields!
Do not be fooled by the optical illusion the train you see is closer and faster moving than you think. If you see a train approaching, wait for it to go by before you proceed across tracks.