“Operation Clear Track” Goes Virtual for Largest Rail Safety Program in the U.S. and Canada

Initiative is part of Rail Safety Week 2020

WASHINGTON – The Amtrak Police Department, Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI), first responders and railroads across the U.S. and Canada are delivering virtual simultaneous rail safety messages as part of “Operation Clear Track,” the single largest rail safety education initiative across the U.S. and Canada during Rail Safety Week, September 21-27.  

Due to the ongoing pandemic, this year’s fourth annual rail safety event will be conducted virtually on Tuesday, Sept. 22, by 368 law enforcement agencies, first responders and emergency departments nationwide, each sending out a single rail safety message designed to reduce deaths and injuries along the railroad rights-of way.   

“The first responders who signed up this year to electronically share our rail safety message are the same men and women who report to the scene when a railroad incident occurs,” said Amtrak Police Chief Sam Dotson. “They know better than most, the tragic aftermath of these calls, and are our best ambassadors when it comes to warning the public about the deadly consequences of ignoring state grade crossing and trespassing laws. We hope communities pay attention to their voices and choose to do the right thing around trains and train tracks daily.”

The participating departments are publicly sharing relevant social media content, virtual safety messaging and website postings that emphasize the importance of staying away from railroad tracks. The videos and graphics released today carry strong safety messages delivered by police and those personally impacted by railroad collisions.

“Every three hours in the U.S., a person or vehicle is hit by a train,” said Operation Lifesaver, Inc. Executive Director Rachel Maleh. “While we have made strides in reducing deaths and injuries, the goal of Operation Clear Track and other Rail Safety Week activities is empowering individuals and communities to be safe around tracks and raise rail safety awareness. We appreciate the ongoing safety partnership of the first responder community.” 

Participating departments will also post information focusing on the importance of obeying state railroad grade crossing and trespassing laws throughout Rail Safety Week. According to OLI, each year thousands of people are killed or injured in railroad-related incidents nationwide. Most of these incidents involve trespassing on railroad tracks, which is private property.

Examples of virtual PSA messages include:

For more on rail-safety initiatives and tips, please visit oli.org or stayoffthetracks.org.