ConnDOT: Rail Safety Week -- Sept. 24 - 30
2017

CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
NEWS RELEASE
 
2800 BERLIN TURNPIKE P.O. BOX 317546
NEWINGTON CONNECTICUT, 06131-7546
 
FOR RELEASE: September 25, 2017
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
TELEPHONE: (860) 594-3062
FAX: (860) 594-3065
WEB SITE: www.ct.gov/dot 

Connecticut Department of Transportation Kicks-off Rail Safety Week with Lifesaving Tips for Connecticut Residents


 

CTDOT participates in Rail Safety Week; rail safety public awareness efforts will continue with the launch of Operation Lifesaver Connecticut campaign later this year

 

{Rail Safety Week Group Photo}
Deputy Commissioner Anna Barry led the kick-off for Rail Safety Week.

 

(HARTFORD, CT) - Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) Deputy Commissioner Anna M. Barry today was joined by Department of Motor Vehicle Commissioner Michael Bzdyra and Amtrak Police Captain Tracie McCain to kick off Rail Safety Week. The goal of Rail Safety Week is to increase public awareness about rail safety practices in order to reduce collisions between trains and motor vehicles or pedestrians.

 

Beginning September 24th and lasting through September 30th, CTDOT and its partners from Operation Lifesaver, Amtrak, local police departments, the Connecticut State Police, and other transportation industry partners will launch a public outreach campaign on rail safety.  The campaign will include site visits and events to ensure motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists and rail travelers get this important safety message.  Additional outreach will be conducted with schools along the Hartford Line to prepare students for upcoming CTrail service in 2018.

 

“Safety is always our first priority at the Connecticut Department of Transportation. Rail Safety Week is all about educating all of our rail-related constituencies, especially school children,” said CTDOT Commissioner James P. Redeker. “With the advent of expanded service next spring on the Hartford Line between New Haven and Springfield, we will be working through our Operation Lifesaver program with school systems up and down the line to reinforce the Rail Safety Week theme and encourage them to share what they’ve learned with their parents and older siblings.”

 

“It’s critical that citizens in every corner of the country fully understand the dangers and consequences of trespassing on railroad property,” said Amtrak Police Chief Neil Trugman. “By working together with our partners, we hope to raise awareness, save lives and prevent injuries along the railroad rights-of-way from coast to coast.”

 

“Safety needs to be everyone’s concern as they drive or walk near railroad crossings. They need to follow all road signs for caution or no-trespassing signs that are in place for their safety,” said DMV Commissioner Michael Bzdyra.

 

Deputy CTDOT Commissioner Anna M. Barry stated, “We want Connecticut’s residents to be aware of the important, yet simple, safety measures they can take to prevent tragic accidents. Rail Safety Week is a wonderful and vital resource to help us achieve this goal. Beyond Rail Safety Week, we will continue to raise awareness about rail safety with the Connecticut Operation Lifesaver campaign.”

 

The Connecticut Operation Lifesaver campaign, which is scheduled to begin later this year, will conduct targeted outreach to populations across Connecticut, with a special focus on schools to reach children.  “The goal is to reach all who may encounter rail tracks—children, pedestrians, drivers, transit users, bicyclists — and make them aware of the best practices for safety,” said Deputy Commissioner Barry.

 

CTrail, a service of the Connecticut Department of Transportation, is partnering with Operation Lifesaver for Rail Safety Week and for a longer-term rail safety public awareness campaign. Operation Lifesaver is a national nonprofit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at street-level crossings and trespassing on or near railroad tracks. Since Operation Lifesaver’s founding, train collisions with pedestrians and motorists have declined by 83 percent in the United States, from over 12,000 in 1972 to 2,087 in 2013. The efforts of Operation Lifesaver have been a major contributor to this decline.

 

Trespassing along railroad property generally results in more collisions, deaths, and injuries than accidents occurring along street-level railroad crossings. In 2016, there were four vehicle-train collisions along the state’s 628 at-grade rail crossings that resulted in one injury and no fatalities. In the same year, trespassing along railroad property resulted in six fatalities and two injuries in Connecticut. Preliminary national data show that in 2016, 1,104 people were killed or injured in vehicle-train collisions along at-grade crossings, while 980 people were injured or killed while trespassing on railroad property (usually walking on, or near, railroad tracks).

 

Other Rail Safety Week events include Operation Clear Tracks on Tuesday, September 26th.  Amtrak, local police departments and CTDOT will join forces to conduct rail safety outreach to drivers and pedestrians at rail crossings in Wallingford, New London, Meriden, Hartford, Wallingford, Suffield, and Plainfield.  On Thursday, September 28th, CTDOT staff will be on site at New Haven’s Union Station, sharing rail safety tips with travelers. A social media advertising campaign and collaboration with school bus companies are also planned to occur during Rail Safety Week.

Deputy CTDOT Commissioner Anna Barry stated, “We want Connecticut’s residents to be aware of the important, yet simple, safety measures they can take to prevent tragic accidents. Rail Safety Week is a wonderful and vital resource to help us achieve this goal. Beyond Rail Safety Week, we will continue to raise awareness about rail safety with the Connecticut Operation Lifesaver campaign.”

The Connecticut Operation Lifesaver campaign, which is scheduled to begin later this year, will conduct targeted outreach to populations across Connecticut, with a special focus on schools to reach children.  “The goal is to reach all who may encounter rail tracks—children, pedestrians, drivers, transit users, bicyclists — and make them aware of the best practices for safety,” said Deputy Commissioner Barry.

 

More about Operation Lifesaver at www.oli.org and on the CTDOT website here.