Thursday, May 14, 2009

“Stay Alive When You Drive”

Written by 

Operation Lifesaver is releasing a new training video, Stay Alive When You Drive, to provide professional truck drivers with information to drive safely at highway-rail grade crossings. 

“Preliminary 2008 statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration reveal that, although there are more collisions between big rigs and trains at public crossings (261 last year) than at private crossings (109), tractor-trailers represent about 33% of all vehicle-train collisions at private crossings (like industrial sites and farm crossings) and just 13% of crashes at public railroad crossings,” OLI President Helen Sramek said. “We recognize the enormous responsibilities faced by our professional trucking partners. It’s a tough job that we’d like to make a little easier and safer. Operation Lifesaver will work with its state program safety leaders across the country along with professional driver training organizations to see that the training video reaches the greatest number of drivers.”

oli-truk-at-crossing.jpg The video provides important tips to help commercial drivers avoid these. Scenes in the video include several serious crashes “that illustrate the high stakes drivers face at crossings.” In one scenario, on a dark, rainy night, a driver is shown the steps that can be taken to stay safe. Another scenario shows the vast number of distractions—pagers, GPS systems, laptops, and cell phones—that divert drivers’ attention from the road.

Among the safety tips: “Stop no closer than 15 feet (one car length) from the crossing. If you are in traffic, don’t start if you can’t safely clear the crossing. Note the overhang—both for your truck and a train—of three feet or more. Make sure that trailer jacks are in the up position, Non-retracted trailer jacks can cause trailers to become stuck on crossings. If you get stuck at the crossing, get out, call the 800 number posted at the crossing, or call local police to alert trains of your position.

The video was produced for OLI by Big Picture, Springfield, Va. Safety managers from the professional trucking community and other officials served as advisors on the video. OLI acknowledges the assistance of Jim Kochendorfer, Werner Trucking; John Spiros, Roehl Trucking; and Bennie Howe, a CDL-certified independent driver and a Federal Railroad Administration Safety Manager. Terry Ludban, CSX Safety Manager, and John Simpson, Union Pacific Safety Manager, also provided logistics and safety support.

To view an excerpt of this video, CLICK HERE.