Operation Lifesaver started in 1972 when the average number of collisions at U.S. highway-rail grade crossings had risen above 12,000 incidents annually. To address this, the Idaho governor's office, along with the Idaho Peace Officers and Union Pacific Railroad launched a six-week public awareness educational campaign called Operation Lifesaver to promote highway-rail grade crossing safety. After Idaho's crossing-related fatalities fell that year by 43%, the successful program was adopted by Nebraska (1973) and Kansas and Georgia the following year. Missouri adopted the program in October 1977. Within a decade it had spread around the country; in 1986 a non-profit national Operation Lifesaver office was created to help support the efforts of state OL programs and raise national awareness on highway-rail grade crossing issues.
What is Missouri Operation Lifesaver?
Missouri Operation Lifesaver (MO OL) is a nonprofit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and trespassing on or near railroad tracks. OL promotes rail safety through public awareness campaigns and education initiatives, including free safety presentations by authorized volunteers. We speak to school groups, driver education classes, community audiences, professional drivers, law enforcement officers, emergency responders, and others. Our program is co-sponsored by state and local government agencies, highway safety organizations, America's railroads, and other entities. Together we promote the three E's - education, enforcement and engineering - to keep people safe around the tracks and railway crossings within our communities. MO OL is part of a national nonprofit program known as Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI).
Why is Operation Lifesaver Needed?
Sadly, every year people in Missouri are killed or injured at highway-rail crossings and at other locations along railroad tracks.
Many people are unaware that trains cannot stop quickly to avoid collisions; or, they take chances by ignoring warning signs and signals, going around lowered gates, stopping on tracks, or simply not paying attention when approaching highway-rail crossings. People also make the potentially fatal mistake of choosing railroad tracks as shortcuts or as places to walk or run for recreation. They may not realize that walking on train tracks is illegal, or understand how quickly and quietly a train can approach. Our safety tips can save your life – or the life of someone you love.
Become an Operation Lifesaver Authorized Volunteer
We are always looking for high-energy volunteers to help us spread our important message. Our volunteers are everywhere—schools, training programs, law enforcement events and safety fairs—with the common purpose of keeping our citizens safe. You can begin the process today by clicking on this link oli.org/training/volunteer-for-oli.
MO OL Events
2018 RAIL SAFETY WEEK
Rail Safety Week for 2018 will be held September 23 - 29, 2018
Events will be posted closer to those dates.
Iowa will be hosting the annual Multi-State Rail Safety Conference (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska), (formerly the Missouri-Kansas Rail Safety Conference) on April 11-12, 2018 at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, 2202 River Rd. Council Bluffs, Iowa
The agenda is still being developed so the website has last year’s agenda to provide an idea of the types of topics which may be covered. They bring together representatives of federal and state agencies, railroad and rail industry officials, and consultants to discuss and share ideas seeking to improve highway-railroad crossings and reduce injuries and fatalities on railroad right of way.
The registration fee is $49 per person and they have a room block for $93/night.
MO OL Safety Partners
Missouri Operation Lifesaver is sponsored by and in safety partnerhip with:
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF)
Kansas City Southern Railroad (KCS)
Norfolk Southern Railway (NS)
Union Pacific Railroad (UP)
Arkansas & Missouri Railroad (AMR)
MetroLink/Bi-State Development Agency (BSDA)
Central Midland Railway (CMR)
Columbia Terminal Railroad (COLT)
Canadian Pacific Railroad (CP)
Kaw River Railroad (KAW)
Kansas City Street Car
Kansas City Terminal Railway (KCT)
Missouri & Northern Arkansas Railroad (MNA)
Pemiscot County Port Authority Railroad
SEMO Port Railroad
Terminal Railroad Association (TRRA)
Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT)
Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP)
Missouri Coalition For Roadway Safety (MCRS)
Missouri School Bus Task Force
Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)
MO OL Statistics
Preliminary Missouri Rail Crossing and Trespass Statistics, 2017 vs. 2016
Source: FRA Office of Safety Analysis
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Tim Hull - 573-694-6412 - thull.MOOL21@gmail.com
Missouri Operation Lifesaver notes reduction in 2017 crossing collisions; pedestrian-train casualties rose from 2016 levels
Preliminary Rail Crossing and Trespass Statistics, 2016 vs. 2017
Source: FRA Office of Safety Analysis
Jefferson City, MO March 26, 2018 – Collisions at highway-rail grade crossings collisions in Missouri fell by 35 percent in 2017 and rail trespass casualties (deaths plus injuries) rose according to the nonprofit rail safety education organization Missouri Operation Lifesaver, community.oli.org/state/mo The group cited preliminary 2017 Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) statistics.
“We are gratified with this reduction in highway-rail grade crossing collisions,” said Missouri Operation Lifesaver Executive Director Tim Hull. “We will continue our work giving people across Missouri important information on how to keep themselves, their friends and their families safe near tracks and trains to avoid these preventable tragedies,” said Executive Director Hull.
Nationally, vehicle-train collisions at highway-rail grade crossings rose 3.1 percent in 2017, and the number of people killed in crossing incidents rose 7.4 percent; however, the number of people injured in crossing incidents declined 4.3 percent last year. Deaths in 2017 from train track trespassing climbed 22.3 percent, and trespass injuries increased 4.6 percent; total trespass-related casualties (deaths plus injuries) increased 13.3 percent from 2016 levels, Executive Director Hull said.
Overall, Missouri crossing collisions were down 35 percent in 2017 from 2016, to 25; crossing fatalities fell 62 percent to 3; and crossing injuries fell 5 percent to 16, FRA statistics reveal. Trespass fatalities increased, 44 percent in 2017 to 9, and trespass injuries rose 27 percent in 2017 to 11.
“This year, Missouri will participate in Rail Safety Week, September 23-29,” Executive Director Hull continued. “We look forward to working with existing and new safety partners to raise awareness among Missouri residents of the need to always use caution near crossings and refrain from trespassing on the tracks.” he concluded.
About Operation Lifesaver
Operation Lifesaver is a nonprofit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and preventing trespassing on or near railroad tracks. A national network of trained volunteers gives free presentations on rail safety and a public awareness campaign, “See Tracks? Think Train!” provides the general public with tips and statistics to encourage safe behavior near the tracks. Learn more at community.oli.org/state/mo or at oli.org.
Target Counties for 2018
These counties were selected based on rail crossing incidents, from FRA data, MoDOT Multimodal Operations Division-Railroad Section and Railroad Unsafe Motorists Reports.