Rail Safety Week Campaign- September 20–26, 2021

As part of Rail Safety Week, we’d like to highlight NovoaGlobal’s unique contribution to railroad safety, Railroad-Safe™, a Vision Zero solution to change driver behavior at railroad crossings. Railroad-Safe™ incorporates photo enforcement at railroad crossings with warnings sent to violators to prevent rail-related fatalities by educating drivers. Many crashes are caused by risky driving behaviors and poor decision-making, which means the incidents and deaths could have been prevented.

NovoaGlobal, U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) are supporting the “Stop. Trains Can’t.” campaign to remind drivers to yield or stop at highway-rail grade crossings and be alert for the approach of light rail transit. The campaign focuses on reducing collisions, deaths and injuries at freight and commuter train and rail transit train crossings. 

Trains need a long time to stop, even after emergency brakes are applied. Ignoring warning devices or traffic signals, or attempting to go around a lowered crossing gate arm, can have deadly consequences for you, anyone in your motor vehicle, those operating or traveling on a train or even those living and working near rail lines.

According to FRA, in 2020, there were 1,377 motor vehicle collisions at public rail grade crossings, resulting in 94 fatalities and 494 people injured. Between 2016 and 2020, there were 7,800 collisions between freight and commuter trains and motor vehicles, resulting in 624 fatalities and 3,128 people injured at public rail grade crossings.

According to FTA, in 2020, there were 449 motor vehicle collisions at rail transit train crossings, resulting in seven fatalities and 139 people injured.

Due to optical effects, most people misjudge an approaching train’s speed and distance from the crossing. It’s like trying to guess the height or speed of an airplane in the sky.

By law, freight and commuter trains always have the right-of-way at rail crossings. While warning devices do improve safety at railroad crossings, they do not prevent 100% of collisions. Approximately 60% of collisions at railroad crossings occur where active warning devices are present. When approaching a highway-rail grade crossing, slow down, look and listen for a train on the tracks, especially at “passive” crossings. At night, and even during the day, look carefully in both directions before crossing a track.

Many people don’t realize that trains can approach from either direction at any time, especially in locations with multiple tracks.

Before driving over a rail crossing, be certain there is enough room on the other side of the tracks for your vehicle to fully clear the crossing. Be aware that you may need to cross multiple sets of tracks at some rail crossings.

Never stop on the tracks. Keep moving once you have entered the crossing and, to avoid stalling, never shift gears on the tracks. If your vehicle does stall on a rail grade track—even if you don’t see a train coming—quickly move all occupants out and away from your vehicle and the track. Run toward the train and away from the tracks. If you run in the same direction that the train is traveling, you could be hit by flying debris when the train hits your car. When it’s safe to do so, call the number on the blue Emergency Notification System sign. If the sign is not visible to you, dial 911 for help.

To find out more about NovoaGlobal’s Railroad-Safe™, contact our photo enforcement experts at 888-666-4218, Ext. 6 for East Coast and Ext. 7 for West Coast.  We can also be reached at [email protected]

For more information on Rail Safety Week, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/get-materials/rail-grade-crossing