Rail Safety Week reminds us to See Tracks, Think Train

The following is a press release from the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.

Washington Operation Lifesaver (WAOL) is teaming up with Operation Lifesaver, Inc., to promote rail safety during U.S. Rail Safety Week, Sept. 24-30.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a proclamation Monday declaring Washington state’s commitment to Rail Safety Week. The goal is to reduce crossing collisions and pedestrian-trespass incidents by raising awareness of railroad safety.

In 2016, accidents at rail crossings and incidents involving pedestrians or vehicles on rail tracks resulted in 14 deaths and 15 injuries in Washington.

On Tuesday, Sept. 26, Amtrak will join and local law enforcement partners from Seattle, Auburn, Puyallup, Kent, King County Sheriff’s Office, and BNSF Railway police in “Operation Clear Track.” Law enforcement officers will be stationed at crossings and train stations in their communities to hand out railroad safety information and issue warnings and citations to violators.

WAOL is a free public service education program dedicated to preventing and reducing fatalities and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and along railroad rights-of-way.

WAOL is sponsored by BNSF Railway, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, Washington State Dept. of Transportation, Washington State Patrol, Amtrak, Union Pacific Railroad, Sound Transit, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Federal Railroad Administration, Washington Traffic Safety Commission, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, and the United Transportation Union.

The national Operation Lifesaver non-profit public service education program is dedicated to preventing and reducing fatalities and injuries at rail crossings and along railroad rights-of-way. State coordinators lead the efforts of volunteers who work to educate people about rail safety. Operation Lifesaver also promotes engineering projects to improve public safety and works with law enforcement communities in an effort to reduce grade crossing and trespass incidents.

The UTC regulates railroad safety, including the approval of new grade crossings, closure or alteration of existing rail crossings, investigation of train accidents, inspection of public railroad crossings, funding and approval of safety projects and management of safety education through Operation Lifesaver.