WASHINGTON — Amtrak’s police department and Operation Lifesaver, the national rail safety education nonprofit, are joining law enforcement and other first responders across the U.S. today for “Operation Clear Track,” the single largest rail safety initiative in the U.S. This annual initiative takes place during Rail Safety Week, Sept. 18-24, in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Operation Clear Track and Rail Safety Week raise awareness about the importance of making safe choices near railroad tracks and crossings.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, nine out of 10 rail-related fatalities result from crossing collisions and trespass incidents. Trespassing along railroad rights-of-way is the leading cause of rail-related deaths in the U.S. Nationally, more than 400 trespass fatalities occur each year, the vast majority of which are preventable.
“We cannot say this enough. Trespassing on train tracks is not only dangerous but is illegal in all 50 states,” said Amtrak Chief of Police D. Samuel Dotson. “Through Operation Clear Track, we can help drivers and pedestrians understand that every time someone trespasses on the tracks, it can lead to devastating results, impacting someone’s life, their family and the community.”
During Operation Clear Track, law enforcement representatives will be conducting safety outreach at high-incident railroad grade crossings in various locations across the country, sharing safety information, and enforcing crossing and trespassing laws by issuing citations and warnings to violators.
State Operation Lifesaver programs partner with first responders across the U.S. during Operation Clear Track, working to reduce these incidents and empower individuals to keep themselves safe near tracks and trains. This collaborative railroad safety initiative is one of several events scheduled during Rail Safety Week.