Louisiana Rail Safety Week is October 3-9
Friday, September 30, 2011 at 9:15:28 AM

BATON ROUGE, LA – Louisiana Operation Lifesaver, a nonprofit organization with the mission of reducing the number of highway-rail grade crossing collisions and trespasser incidents, has named October 3-9, 2011, as Louisiana Rail Safety Week.

Last year in Louisiana, 95 people were either injured or killed at highway-railroad intersections or near tracks.

"The goal of Louisiana Rail Safety Week is to remind people to make safe decisions when they approach highway-rail crossings and near railroad tracks," said Pat Edwards, executive director of Louisiana Operation Lifesaver.

"Life is demanding, and it is so easy to become distracted when driving," said Edwards. "When you see a railroad crossbuck sign, yield. Stay focused as you approach a railroad crossing. Always expect a train."

Louisiana Rail Safety Week is supported by safety partners with the Louisiana railroads, Louisiana State Police, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, and the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.

Two mock crashes – one on Oct. 4 in Frierson and one on Oct. 6 at Port Manchac -- are being held during Louisiana Rail Safety Week to raise awareness of the importance of safety near railroad tracks. The mock crash provides a chance for emergency responders and law enforcement to practice response procedures to train-vehicle collisions.

The Frierson mock crash scenario is of a Kansas City Southern train colliding with a saltwater truck at the Hwy 175 crossing. In the staged event, the truck is pushed south on the tracks as the train comes to a stop and then impacts a second vehicle at the Church St. crossing. Five ‘victims’ will play the roles of injured persons transported to the area hospital. This location was selected because of the increased truck and train traffic resulting from Haynesville Shale activity.

The Manchac mock crash, coordinated with CN Railway, involves an Amtrak train en route to New Orleans with dozens of passengers. In this scenario, the train collides with a truck at Port Manchac and a major derailment occurs with multiple casualties.

Louisiana Operation Lifesaver provides speakers for free safety presentations and materials for audiences of any profession and age group, along with resources on its website, www.laoperationlifesaver.org.

"Exercise patience. Take time and be alert when approaching a railroad crossing. Nothing is more precious than a life," said Edwards. "The extra time that you spend waiting for the train to pass is worth every second of your life."

To request a speaker or acquire information, visit www.laoperationlifesaver.org, or call Pat Edwards at 225-921-8381, or email patricia.edwards@la.gov.

ABOUT Louisiana Operation Lifesaver – Louisiana Operation Lifesaver is a nonprofit organization with the mission of reducing the number of highway-rail grade crossing collisions and trespasser incidents by providing targeted safety and prevention programs. Every three hours, somewhere in this nation, a vehicle or a pedestrian is involved in an incident with a train.