Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

June 5, 2014

Crossing tracks safely

VALDOSTA — If you think there’s no reason for a project like the Norfolk Southern Operation Lifesaver Peach State Whistle-Stop Safety Train, consider the past week in the region.

A train struck and killed a 28-year-old man walking along railroad tracks in Ashburn.

A train struck and killed a woman trying to walk across a Cordele railroad track.

A train struck the back of a semi-truck in Cook County trying to cross a track.

Operation Lifesaver stopped in Valdosta Tuesday and makes its way north though the state this week.

Its purpose is to

prevent further deaths along railroad tracks, to increase awareness for

people to heed railroad warning lights, to stop and look at all railroad crossings.

Operation Lifesaver has a simple motto: “See Tracks? Think Train!”

“Since 1972, Operation Lifesaver programs have augmented important

engineering improvements and law-enforcement efforts to produce a steady decline in injuries and fatalities at highway-rail grade crossings (an 83 percent decrease in incidents since our founding.),” according to Operation Lifesaver.

“Yet with nearly 220,000 private and public crossings in use today, improving grade-crossing safety and maintaining those gains remains a constant challenge.

“In partnership with rail safety advocates in the railroad industry and at federal, state and local governments, Operation Lifesaver is dedicated to answering rising rail transportation demands with

an equally powerful

commitment using education to keep people safe around railroad rights of way.”

The campaign does this through education, enforcement and engineering.

Yet, even amidst the success, even as the Operation Lifesaver Safety Train carries officials from town to town in Georgia, recent events sadly illustrate the need for strong reminders to pay attention at railroad crossings.

Paying attention, remembering the “See Tracks? Think Train” saying, could save lives.

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