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DOT Launches New Railroad Crossing Safety Ad Campaign

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

DOT Launches New Railroad Crossing Safety Ad Campaign

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
13 January 2017


$7 Million Digital, Radio and Digital Video Campaign Adds to Administration’s Safety Efforts on Railroad Crossings


Download Stop. Trains Can't in MP4 format - 8.5MB - 0:30
Federal Railroad Administration
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration have launched a new railroad crossing safety ad campaign. Although accidents at railroad crossings is an old problem, it is one that can be solved. This ad is the latest in a two-year, focused effort to reverse the uptick in railroad crossing fatalities. Its message is simple: Stop. Trains can’t. For more information, please visit: https://www.transportation.gov/stop-trains-cant

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today launched the “Stop! Trains Can’t” campaign aimed at young male motorists to make the right choice at railroad crossings. The campaign is the latest in a two-year effort by DOT to reduce accidents, and ultimately fatalities, at railroad crossings around the country. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) have partnered on the nationwide effort.

Although rail incidents have declined over the last 10 years, railroad crossing fatalities spiked in 2014. Last year alone, 232 people died in railroad crossing accidents, and approximately every three hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train in the United States.  

“Too many people are still taking unnecessary risks and needlessly paying with their lives,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These deaths are preventable, and this ad campaign is a reminder for everyone that ignoring signage at railroad crossings or attempting to race or beat a train can have deadly consequences.”

The $7-million media buy will target males ages 18 to 49-years-old in states where the nation’s 15 most dangerous crossings are located, as well as the states that had 75 percent of the crossing accidents that occurred in 2015. The ad will run in the following states: California, Illinois, Texas, Louisiana, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Mississippi, New Jersey, Arkansas and Arizona.

“Your life is worth more than a few saved minutes, and trying to outrun a train isn’t worth the risk,” said NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind. “When a train is coming, the only choice is to stop. Trains can’t.”

By law, trains always have the right of way because they cannot swerve, stop quickly or change directions to avert collisions. A freight train travelling at 55 mph takes a mile—the length of 18 football fields or more— to come to a stop even with the emergency brake applied.

“This is an old problem, but one that can be solved. Nearly all deaths at crossings are preventable,” said FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg. “The message of this ad has a clear, life-saving message: Stop, because trains can’t.”

For more information on the “Stop! Trains Can’t” campaign, visit www.transportation.gov/stop-trains-cant.

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