Officially launched on Tuesday, Oct. 6, this year’s Stop. Trains Can’t. public education campaign, runs through Nov. 8. This national $6.6 million safety campaign will run on radio, digital, and social media, educating drivers not to gamble with their lives at rail grade crossings. The campaign will also target high-risk highway-railway crossings in Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Tennessee, and Texas.
“So many fatalities at highway-railway crossings are preventable; this campaign aims to raise public awareness and save lives,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) manage this campaign.
“Evolving technology will continue to help reduce fatalities at our nation’s rail grade crossings, but driver awareness is paramount to bringing down the fatality rate,” said Ronald L. Batory, Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration.
“A train can’t swerve out of the way or stop on a dime,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens. “We all have a responsibility to be safe while on the highways, and that means drivers must always look carefully before driving across train tracks and obey any warning signals or lowered crossing gate arms. Trying to beat a train could cost you your life.”
Over the past five years, 798 people have died while trying to drive across railroad tracks. In 2019 alone, 126 people were killed and 635 people were injured at railroad crossings. Of those killed, about 75 percent died after the driver went around lowered crossing gate arms.