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About NY OL

New York Operation Lifesaver is dedicated to:

• Reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and trespassing on or near railroad tracks.
• Promoting rail safety through public awareness campaigns and education initiatives
• Providing free safety presentations by authorized volunteers to school groups, driver education classes, community audiences, professional drivers, law enforcement officers, emergency responders, and others.

To keep people safe around the tracks and railway crossings across New York, we promote the three Es:

  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Enforcement

For over thirty years, New York Operation Lifesaver (NYOL) volunteers have provided free safety presentations throughout New York State.

NYOL is sponsored by federal, state and local governement agencies, New York's railroads and other entities. Throughout New York, we work with schools, law enforcement agencies, railroads, and governement officials to spread the message of safety at railroad crossings and along tracks to as many people as possible.

Operation Lifesaver History

New York Operation Lifesaver is part of a national nonprofit program known as Operation LIfesaver, Inc. (OLI)).

When Operation Lifesaver began in Idaho in 1972 there were about 12,0000 collisions at U.S. highway-rail grade crossingsevery year. To address this tragic reality, 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 decreased that year by 43%, the successful program was adopted by Nebraska (1973) and in Kansas and Georgia the following year. Within a decade it had spread across the country. In 1986 a non-profit Operation Lifesaver national office was created to help support the efforts of state OL programs and raise national awareness on highway-rail grade crossing issues.

Today there are about 2,100 collisions every year, a reduction of over 80% over the last fifty years. While that is a great indication of how important the work we do is, there are still about 8 collisions every day between a train and a car or a person. Even one is too much.

Stuck on the tracks?

Look for the Emergency Notification Sign

Where's it located? Look for it on the crossing gate.

NY OL Events

A Partial List of Upcoming New York Operation Lifesaver Presentations and Events
February 19,2020 Niskayuna Bus Driveer Training Niskayuna, NY
March 8, 2020 Camillus Model Train show Camillus Fire Dept., Camillus, NY
March 11, 2020 Board Meeting New York Operation LIfesaver
March 24, 2020 Teen Traffic Safety Fair EXPO Center at the NYS Fairgrounds in Syracuse NY

NY OL Safety Partners

New York Operation Lifesaver partners with state and federal agencies, railroads, and other nonprofits.

  • New York State Department of Transportation
  • Federal Railroad Administration
  • New York State Governor's Traffice Safety Committee
  • CSX Transportation
  • Canadian Pacific Railway
  • New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway
  • Genesee & Wyoming Inc.
  • New York and Atlantic Railway
  • Metro North Railroad
  • Long Island Rail Road

NY OL Statistics

When Operation Lifesaver began in 1972 over 12,000 train collisions occured every year in the United States.

In 1972, there were 32 collisions between trains and people, or vehicles, per day
That's one every 45 minutes!

Due to the efforts of Operation Lifesaver volunteers, the implementation of engineering solutions, efforts by state and federal agencies, and enforcement by law enforcement, the rate of collisions has fallen to about 1 every 3 hours.

Never stop on the tracks!


National Statistics - 2018

2,214 collisions occured
Over 1,000 people were injured
270 died as a result of the collision

1,050 collisions due to trespassing
571 died as a result of the collision

New York State Statistics - 2018

26 collisions occured at railroad crossings resulting in 4 deaths
Trespassing resulted in 52 collisions and 38 deaths

Our goal is to reduce deaths from train collisions in New York State to zero.

Federal Railroad Administration Collision Statistics

GX Dash - link to data from 2009-2019

Trespasser Map - Data from 2011-2019

Federal Railroad Administration Statistics for your State

Contact Information

Phil Merens State Coordinator

518-269-9131 (mobile)

PO Box 214
Rensselaer , NY    12144

Our presentations are always free.
Become a volunteer and help save lives.