Information published on 3 July 2012 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 299.

Almost 200 participants took part in the Operation Lifesaver inc. USA

Leadership Workshop in Denver, Colorado, from 26 – 28 June 2012

  • Safety
  • Level Crossings

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Operation Lifesaver inc. U.S.A., Isabelle Fonverne, UIC Projects Coordinator for Safety and Interoperability, along with other speakers, was invited by Helen Sramek, President of OL inc. (one of the main partners in ILCAD), to give an overview of the activities carried out during ILCAD 2012 on 7 June by the 42 partner countries around the world.

Operation Lifesaver inc. USA started in 1972 as a not-for-profit organisation when the average number of collisions at US highway-rail grade crossings had risen above 12,000 incidents annually. Since then the number of collisions has been reduced by 84%. Operation Lifesaver’s mission is to end collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and on rail property through a nationwide network of volunteers who work to educate people about rail safety.

Their national office in Alexandria, VA, supports state programs, developing videos, educational brochures, instructional information and other materials for audiences of all ages. The state coordinators are located in all 50 states.

The workshop audience was mainly composed of OL USA Coordinators from the 50 states, specialists in the three E’s (Education, Engineering, Enforcement), communications managers, social media experts, police forces, railway staff members, OL inc. partners (Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Transit Administration, AAR, Amtrak, BNSF Railway, Canadian Pacific, Canadian National, CSX, Genesse & Wyoming Inc., Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern, Railway Supply Institute and Union Pacific Railroad) plus an international panel of speakers moderated by Dan Di Tota (Chairman of OL Canada).

Helen Sramek opened the workshop: “Operation Lifesaver USA was pleased to join its partner countries around the world for the 2012 observance of International Level Crossing Awareness Day. Educating the public to remain safe at the crossing or on and around tracks is a mission that unites us all,” noted H. Sramek. “As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of OL, we are pleased to report an 84% decline in vehicle-train collisions. We will not be satisfied until we push that number to zero,” H. Sramek concluded.

Here are some links to the activities carried out by OL inc. on 7 June:

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The international panel moderated by Dan Di Tota (National Director of OL Canada) started with his own presentation: “Operation Lifesaver Canada recently held its 10th annual Public-Rail Safety Week (PRSW) across Canada with a focus on disseminating rail safety best practices and on empowering Canadians to take personal responsibility for their safety on or near rail property. OL efforts over the past 31 years have helped reduce the number of crossing collisions (where a train and motor vehicle collide) in Canada from over 800 annually to 169 in 2011, a 79% decline. OL Canada supported ILCAD in Canada publishing the press release in English and French, the ILCAD videos on their website and in the whole country.”

For more information:
or, see also OL CANADA’s posters.

Tamo Vahemets, Chairman of the Management Board of NPO Operation Lifesaver Estonia, presented his 2012 national campaign “Know your opponent” and OLE’s indefectible support to ILCAD. Tamo was one the speakers in the ILCAD press conference at RFF on 7 June 2012.

”The number of railway accidents taking place in Estonia is among the highest in Europe. This saddens us very much”, said Tamo Vahemets, Chairman of the Management Board of NPO Operation Lifesaver Estonia. “Last year 28 train collisions with other vehicles occurred which caused nine fatalities. Unfortunately we can say that all of these incidents could have been prevented if people paid more attention and understood better the stronger position of railway vehicles – this is exactly what this year’s campaign is focusing on.”

Poster of OLE’s 2012 campaign:!prettyPhoto/1/

Video of OL Estonia’s campaign 2012:

Aidan Nelson (Community Safety Partnerships Ltd, U.K.) gave an overview of level crossing safety in the UK and more precisely of the five E’s which stand for Enabling, Engineering, Education, Enforcement and Evaluation.
He gave some figures relating to accidents and fatalities, making comparisons between the UK, Canada and the USA. He presented the example of Network Rail education campaign “Don’t run the risk” (see poster), RSSB research programme, enforcement measures in conjunction with BTP (British Transport Police), communication with local authorities, level crossing users and the media… for further information please contact: or visit

And finally Isabelle Fonverne gave an overview of the activities carried out worldwide on ILCAD day on 7 June :

For further information please contact: