DOT Agencies Relaunch Grade Crossing Campaign

During 2018 alone, 270 people died at railroad crossings, including 99 people who died after the driver went around lowered crossing gate arms. This was a 10-year high, according to DOT.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration have relaunched a $5.6 million public safety awareness campaign named "Stop. Trains Can't." It urges Americans to be more careful at highway-rail grade crossings.

During 2018 alone, 270 people died at railroad crossings, including 99 people who died after the driver went around lowered crossing gate arms. This was a 10-year high, according to DOT. "So many fatalities at highway-railway crossings are preventable, and this campaign is key to raising public awareness and saving lives," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.

DOT reported that, every four hours in the United States, a person or vehicle is struck by a train at a rail crossing, and in the past five years, 798 people have died while trying to drive across railroad tracks. The campaign reminds drivers about the potential risks of an approaching train when crossing railroad tracks, especially when active warning devices such as flashing lights or gate arms are descending or lowered.

A freight train traveling at 55 mph can take more than a mile to stop, even when its emergency brakes are applied.

"We are pleased to collaborate with our colleagues at NHTSA to improve driver behavior at highway-rail crossings and reduce preventable injuries and deaths," said FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory. "Rail safety isn't just about the safe movement of passenger and freight trains; it's also about helping the American public be safe near railroad tracks."

"Road safety is NHTSA's mission, and too many lives are lost every year when drivers disregard safety warnings at rail crossings," added NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi R. King. "Working with Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao and FRA, we want every American to understand the danger surrounding rail crossings and to act with safety in mind. Trying to save a few minutes can cost you your life."

The campaign's advertising will run from April 16 through May 12. It includes video spots that will run on digital and social platforms, radio advertising, and social media messaging, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The new campaign video is available here. Ads will be targeted to high-incident communities in these states: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Texas.

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