Jackson, MI — Today marks the start of Wisconsin Rail Safety Week, September 10-16, and tomorrow will kick off the first ever Midwest Rail Safety Week, September 11-17. GoRail will work alongside Operation Lifesaver and Midwest safety groups to highlight the dangers of trespassing on railroad tracks. Trespass fatalities are on the rise in Wisconsin, Illinois and across the United States.
Many people don’t realize that 95 percent of rail-related deaths involve drivers going through a crossing or a person on the tracks. In Wisconsin in 2015, trespass fatalities were at their highest level since 2003 and at the national level, the rate has risen 15 percent since 2012. In Illinois, there were 140 crossing collisions involving motor vehicles in 2015, resulting in 79 injuries and 24 fatalities.
Rail safety week efforts are led by Operation Lifesaver, a national organization dedicated to ending death and injuries due to trespassing and collisions on the tracks, as well as Midwest Departments of Transportation, and law enforcement groups like the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, Wisconsin Troopers Association, and the Wisconsin EMS Association.
Throughout Rail Safety Week, participating groups will host events at locations across the region. In Wisconsin, locations include Green Bay, Wisconsin Rapids, La Crosse, Eau Claire, Kenosha, Menomonee Falls and Madison. For more information about events in Wisconsin, please contact Susan Klinger of Genesee & Wyoming or “like” Wisconsin Operation Lifesaver on Facebook.
Together with our partners, we can prevent unnecessary deaths and injuries near railroad tracks. Past public safety efforts around trains and motor vehicles at the national level helped to reduce accidents between the two from a 1972 high of roughly 12,000 annual incidents to approximately 2,059 incidents in 2015 – an 83 percent reduction. We can do the same for trespassing.
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