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Operation Lifesaver

Operation Lifesaver is a public information and education program dedicated to reducing the number of crashes, injuries and fatalities at the nation's numerous highway-rail grade crossings. Operation Lifesaver, Inc.

What Operation Lifesaver is...

...An active, continuous public information and education program to help prevent and reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities and improve driver performance at the nation's 300,000 public and private highway-rail grade crossings.

Why it is needed...

...Because thousands of people are seriously injured and hundreds are killed in the nearly 6,000 highway-rail grade crossing crashes each year.

...Because a highway-rail grade crossing presents a unique traffic environment for motorists, many drivers do not cross railroad tracks often enough to be familiar with the warning devices designed for their safety. Often they are unaware that trains cannot stop as quickly as motor vehicles to avoid collision. Others simply ignore all warning signs because they are "in a hurry" and would rather play "beat the train" than wait. Driver ignorance and impatience are the most common factors contributing to motor vehicle/train collisions at highway-rail grade crossings.

When it began...

...Operation Lifesaver was born in Idaho in 1972 after Union Pacific Railroad and community leaders in the state decided to band together and fight the growing number of highway-rail grade crossing crashes, injuries and fatalities with a public education program. The result? At the end of the first year, the highway-rail grade crossing fatality rate dropped a resounding 39 percent.

...A second program, initiated in Nebraska, demonstrated even more impressive results after a one-year period -- a 46 percent reduction in rail/highway grade crossing fatalities.

Where it is active...

...All states have their own Operation Lifesaver programs. It is at the grassroots level -- in the cities, in rural communities, and in the schools where Operation Lifesaver has been most effective. States have reported fatality reductions at highway-rail grade crossings ranging from 28 percent to 100 percent one year after establishing the program.

Who gets involved...

...The nation's railroads, related federal, state, and local governments, business, railroad suppliers, labor,civic and community leaders and other concerned safety professionals are all part of state programs. But it doesn't end there. Any person, including yourself and your organization, is welcome to join in a state program or become involved at the local level doing whatever you can to help educate motorists that they need to exercise greater care when driving across highway-rail crossings.

How you can help...

...As we've said, the key to success of Operation Lifesaver is through participation at the grassroots level. You can become involved by contacting Operation Lifesaver, Inc. or Connie Greguson, SD state Coordinator. Your local PTA, church, woman's club, civic or fraternal organizations to which you belong may want to be a part of Operation Lifesaver.

Operational Lifesaver Promotional materials may be obtained from the South Dakota Safety Council/Operation Lifesaver:

Connie Greguson, Office Administrator
3211 South Carolyn Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD 57106
Phone: (605) 361-7785, (800) 952-5539
FAX: (605) 361-2156
e-mail: connie@sdsafetycouncil.com

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