You are here: Home / Articles / Safety / Pedestrians / Give School Buses a Brake at Rail Crossings

Give School Buses a Brake at Rail Crossings

As schools open their doors for the 2003-2004 academic years, Operation Lifesaver reminds drivers to be particularly careful along school routes. OL President Gerri Hall encourages motorists to "leave home just a little earlier" to allow for traffic. "At railroad crossings school buses are required to stop, open their doors and look down the tracks both ways before proceeding."

Operation Lifesaver, a national, nonprofit educational group started in 1972, is North America's highway-rail safety awareness organization.

For 30 years, Operation Lifesaver's mission has been to reduce collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and along railroad rights-of-way. Over that time the number of vehicle-train collisions at highway-rail intersections has dropped 70% until the number of incidents dipped to 3,064 in 2002. The rail safety group has more than 3,000 certified presenters throughout the U.S. who are trained to speak to community groups, schools, school bus drivers, truck drivers and other organizations to raise awareness of the need for caution around tracks and trains.

In North and South Carolina OL and school districts distribute yellow safety whistles to alert their riders to quiet for an upcoming rail crossing.

In the Fox River Grove school bus-train incident, in which seven students died in 1995, excessive noise on the bus played a role in the tragic outcome, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Federal Highway Administration credits OL and partners with saving 10,000 lives and preventing more than 54,000 injuries. For more information or to schedule a presentation to students or drivers, visit Operation Lifesaver's site at