Topics: Rodney E. Slater
Federal Railroad Administration
November 1, 1999
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 1, 1999
Contact: Pamela Barry
U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today announced the nationwide distribution and premiere viewing of an educational video about highway-rail grade crossing safety for local law enforcement throughout the country.
"Information and education is one of the most significant means of improving safety, which is President Clinton’s highest transportation priority," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater. "This video will help law enforcement officers educate motorists and pedestrians about safety when near or crossing railroads."
The video explains and describes the need for enforcement of traffic and trespass laws, types of warning signs and signals, laws and civil rulings, available enforcement tools, trespass dangers, grade crossing collision investigation, how to stop a train in an emergency and how to recognize and report malfunctioning signals. The video was produced in partnership with the national Operation Lifesaver, Inc., Washington State Operation Lifesaver, the Washington State Patrol and was developed to be shown at daily "roll calls" of state and local law enforcement officials.
"We have zero tolerance for railroad-related incidents that result in injuries and fatalities," said Molitoris. "We’ve made significant progress and must continue to work with our law enforcement partners to increase enforcement of existing laws at state and local levels to continue to save lives."
The video premiered at the annual conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Charlotte, N.C. Entitled "ROLL CALL: Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety," it encourages increased law enforcement at highway-rail grade crossings and along railroad rights-of way. It was viewed by state and local law enforcement officers as well as members of the railroad police corps. It also has been distributed to FRA regional offices and Operation Lifesaver state coordinators for local distribution.
"FRA’s support allowed our public and private sector partners to combine their resources and talents to create an excellent new safety tool," said Gerri Hall, president of Operation Lifesaver, Inc.
Safety at highway-rail grade crossings has improved dramatically during the last six years. According to the FRA, between 1993-98, highway-rail incidents declined 28 percent, highway-rail fatalities declined 31 percent and highway-rail injuries declined 29 percent. The statistics demonstrate safety achievements and represent people whose lives have been saved, however, more needs to be done to get to zero incidents, fatalities and injuries. The FRA partnership with local law enforcement is part of that effort.
The FRA has a law enforcement liaison program that was developed in collaboration with the National Sheriffs Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The law enforcement officer detailed to FRA serves as a national outreach coordinator for federal and state law enforcement agencies and organizations and railroad police across the nation to raise awareness and increase enforcement activities at highway-rail grade crossings and on railroad property. The liaison officer program has been in place for five years.