Amtrak Encourages Caution Near Railroad Crossings and Tracks

Practice Safe
Railroad Habits and Be Track Smart This Summer

WASHINGTON – Approximately once every three hours in the
United States, either a vehicle or a pedestrian is involved in a collision with
a train. June is National Safety Month and Amtrak wants to take this
opportunity to remind the public of the importance of railroad safety. Motorists
and pedestrians can take action to prevent injuries and fatalities from
occurring this summer, as a result of high-risk behavior on or near railroad
crossings and tracks.

“The safety of our customers, employees and the public is Amtrak’s
top priority,” said Amtrak President and CEO Richard Anderson. “When it comes
to railroad safety, education and outreach are critical in raising public awareness
to help save lives.”

Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) statistics
reveal that in 2018, U.S. crossing collisions rose 4.3%, crossing deaths
remained stationary and crossing injuries have decreased 2.9% since 2017. Total
casualties, including deaths and injuries, resulting from rail trespassing
incidents increased 2.8%; fatalities grew 12% and injuries fell 6.3% from their
previous levels in 2017.

Amtrak is one of several partners with Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), a national,
nonprofit safety education group working to eliminate deaths and injuries at
railroad crossings and along railroad rights-of-way. OLI offers programs in all
50 states and Canada, as well as trained volunteers who provide free safety
presentations to community groups, school bus operators, truckers and student
drivers to raise awareness of the dangers around railroad tracks and trains.
OLI uses materials from their national public awareness campaign, “Stop Track Tragedies” to
connect with the public at events and through poignant digital ads and videos.

Rail Safety Tips & Facts:

  • Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and equipment
    are private property and trespassers are subject to arrest and fine.
  • The only safe place to cross is at a designated
    public crossing with either a crossbuck, flashing red lights or a gate.
  • A train traveling at 55 miles per hour can take
    approximately one mile, or the length of about 18 football fields to
  • Avoid walking, biking, or jogging on railroad
  • Obey all warning signs and signals. Trains can
    come from either direction on the same track at any time and can be very quiet.
  • Use of headsets, earbuds or cell phones around
    tracks can prevent a person from hearing an approaching train.
  • Remember to always stop at railroad crossings
    and never drive around lowered gates — it’s illegal and deadly. In addition,
    there are substantial fines for attempting to go around the crossing arms.
  • Report an emergency. A toll-free number is
    posted on every grade crossing for the public to contact a railroad to report
  • Report suspicious items, persons, or activity
    immediately to the Amtrak Police Department by approaching a uniformed officer,
    calling (800) 331-0008, sending a text to APD11 (27311), or by calling 911.

The Amtrak Police Department has a safety campaign
and the Amtrak grade crossing safety
video, “Cheating Death”,
has been disseminated to driver’s education/CDL programs throughout U.S. with
more than 3.6 million views. For more information on railroad safety, visit Operation Lifesaver or

Additionally, Amtrak is encouraging employees to participate
in National Safety Month with company-wide initiatives including a Safety Video
Challenge, recognition of “Safety All-Stars” with stories honoring employees or teams
who perform exceptional work on safety and special content featured on internal
communications channels to highlight workplace safety.