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About NY OL

In 2020 New York Operation Lifesaver promoted three statewide education campaigns. We received an amazing amount of help from folks at Long Island Rail Road, Metro North Railroad, CSX, the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway, the Genesee and Wyoming Railroad and NYS DOT.

These three campaigns all used geofencing to place ads on peoples phones when they're going through at-grade crossings, in high trespass areas, or at truck stops and rest areas. Our ENS campaign also placed ads at gas stations throughout New York.

There's still time to take our three question Emergency Notification System quiz and GET A FREE OPERATION LIFESAVER KOOZIE. Take the three question quiz by February 15th and get your koozie!

Trespass Prevention

If you traveled on Metro North you may well have seen our poster in a kiosk like this one at Grand Central Station

We aimed our outreach toward young people in New York's urban areas.
Our advertising centered on these two messages:

  • Tain Impact Stories Never Have Happy Endings
  • Trains Belong on Tracks, You Don't

Our goal was to teach people that walking or playing on the tracks or cutting across on a shortcut is extremely dangerous.
With the help of our ad firm SGNY we produced three videos in English and Spanish. You can see them at our Vimeo site

Our English Trespass PSA, seen over three million times on TV stations in the NYC metro area so far and 800,000 times on Facebook can be viewed here
Our Spanish Trespass PSA, seen over half a million times on Facebook can be viewed here

In addition to all those millions on TV and facebook, our trespass education ads were seen on Tik Tok 2.5 million times and our PSAs reached nearly 3 million folks on radio.
Trespass education starts with understanding that Train Impact Stories Never Have Happy Endings
In 2019 1,122 people were injured or killed while trespassing. Don't become a statistic stay off the tracks and cross only at designated areas.

LIRR and Metro North Put Trespass Posters in Many Stations

Both these commuter lines have been wonderful during this campaign, including sending folks out to give us GPS coordinates so we could map high trespass corridors for our targeted advertising. Maybe you saw one of our posters.

Even if you didn't see our posters or our ads or hear or see the PSAs we made for this campaign, remember:

Trains Belong On Tracks. You Don't!

Our two smaller campaigns were also quite successful.

At-Grade Crossing Safety

Our PSAs and ads have been seen over four and a half million times by people throughout New York.

Our targeted ads concentrated on the 15 crossings with the highest likelihood of collisions according to Federal Railroad Administration data. Whether our message was never try to beat a train, like in the example above of the banner ads we're running on-line, or to never go around a downed gate, we tried to get people to make safe decisions railroad crossings.

Emergency Notification System

This campaign targeted both truck drivers and the general driving public information about the blue and whie Emergency Notification System sign located at everyat every railroad crossing. Our ads were seen 2.3 million times on line and our Gas Station TV ads were seen another half million times. We want to thank TravelCenters of America for partnering with us and putting up posters and other print material in their New York locations.

Have You Heard of the Emergency Notification System Blue and White sign?

Do You Know What to do if your vehicle gets stuck at a railroad crossing?

Take this three question Emergency Notification System quiz by 2/15/21 and GET A FREE OPERATION LIFESAVER KOOZIE. Click the link below.

Emergency Notification System Saves Lives


This year marks the first time that Rail Safety Week events are taking place throughout North America. Operation Lifesaver is joining Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI), Operation Lifesaver Canada and the Mexican Association of Railroads (AMF) in hosting virtual and in-person events throghout the continent. Join our #StopTrackTragedies campaign by going to our twitter account NYOLIfesaver or by going WWW.OLI.ORG.


Due to the coronavirus issue, New York Operation Lifesaver won't do any live events this year, concentrating our efforts on seeking out interviews and posting to social media. During Rail Safety Week we'll post on social media about what we're doing and the day's RSW topic. Our partners in train safety, freight lines large and small, commuter railroads, and law enforcement agencies across New York will participate in Rail Safety Week. Their efforts are appreciated!

So far our PSAs and ads have been seen over three million times by New Yorkers from all walks of life.

Our partners in the rail industry are all doing their part to spread the word during Rail Safety Week.

Freight lines and law enforcement are doing social media posts on #StopTrackTragedies and safety blitzes.

In addition to Metro North's new RSW page on their web site, they're introducing new Track Man videos throughout the week . Here's a link to their page

Long Island Rail Road will host five safety blitzes from Stony Brook to PennStation.
Babylon 9/21; Hicksville 9/22: Ronkonkoma 9/23: Penn Station 9/24: Stony Brook 9/25

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.

NYOL Launches International Level Crossing Awareness Day Ad Campaign - June 11, 2020

ILCAD is a global commitment to raise public awareness about the dangers associated with the road/rail interfaces known as level crossings or grade crossings. The first ILCAD was held on June 25th, 2009 with participation in 28 countries, and has since expanded to over 40 countries worldwide. New York Operation Lifesaver is proud to join our partners in New York State like the Long Island Railraod and the Metro North Railroad to celebrate International Level Crossing Awareness Day. On June 11, as part of our #StayPatientStay Alive education campaign, in communities across New York State people will see ads like the one below when they are on line.

The #StayPatientStay Alive campaign encourages New Yorkers to stay patient at railroad crossings. Remember when you come to a railroad crossing any time is train time and if you see tracks, think train. Being patient could save your life and the life of the passengers and crew on the train.
Long Island Rail Road will have events in Bethpage and Deer Park to educate the public about railroad crossing safety. Metro North Railroad has a great page dedicated to the ILCAD at

Never Drive Around a Gate:

SomeTrack Safety Basics

  • Always expect a train at each highway-rail intersection at any time.
  • Trains have the right of way 100% of the time over emergency vehicles, cars, the police and pedestrians.
  • It takes the average freight train traveling at 55 mph more than a mile to stop.
  • A train can extend three feet or more beyond the steel rail, cars and pedestrians should stay at least 15 feeet from the tracks.
  • Trains can move in either direction at any time.
  • Remember to cross train tracks ONLY at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings, and obey all warning signs and signals posted there.

Remember #StayPatientStay Alive

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

Emergency Notification System Saves Lives

Do You Know What Actions to Take

If Your Vehicle is Stuck on the Tracks?


Test Your Knowledge of the Emergency Notification System

Take the Quiz! - Get a FREE COOZIE

Take These Steps to Avoid a Tragedy

1) Get Out of Your Vehicle

2) Locate the Blue and White ENS Sign on the Crossbuck or Signal Post

3) Call The 800# on the sign

4) Give them the Crossing ID from the ENS sign - located in white box on the ENS sign above

They need the Crossing ID to STOP THE TRAIN

5) Call 911

6) Stay Well Away Your Vehicle Until Help Arrives

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.