Safe Routes Scoop
Resource Spotlight: Operation Lifesaver

are private property and trespassers are subject to arrests and fines. In New Jersey, it is against the law to be on railroad tracks except at legal crossings. People convicted of the offense of trespassing on railroad property are subject to a fine of not less than $100 and/or imprisonment (vi).


Operation Lifesaver

Operation Lifesaver is a non-profit, international, public education program first established in 1972 to end collisions, deaths, and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and on railroad rights-of-way. The organization has developed classroom lessons on safety around highway-rail grade crossings and railroad tracks. There are lesson plans available for early childhood through 12th grade. Educational brochures and videos, coloring books for children and other materials can also be found on the Operation Lifesaver Web site.


Every state has an Operation Lifesaver coordinator who can provide information about highway-rail grade crossing safety and trespass prevention activities, including scheduling a free safety presentation at your school, community club or workplace, or at fairs and special events. Operation Lifesaver also has trained and certified volunteer speakers who provide free safety presentations for various professions and for all age groups in order to increase public safety around railroad

tracks. New Jersey has 25 volunteer presenters that cover the entire state. According to Todd Hirt, the New Jersey State Coordinator, “Volunteer presenters gave 465 presentations to about 70,000 people in 2008.” The majority of presentations are given to students in grades K through 8. However, volunteers also present to any interested civic group and at community events. Presentations are usually 15 minutes followed by a video. Both the presentation and video are age appropriate. No matter whom the audience, Mr. Hirt says there are two things they always tell people, “the railroad is private property and always expect a train.”


If you are interested in arranging a presentation, please visit Operation Lifesaver’s Web site. Emails can be sent directly to Mr. Hirt through the Operation Lifesaver Web site. Additional contact information is also available.


Safe Crossing Program Each year, Safe Kids USA and Canadian National Railway (CN), one of the largest railroads in North America, partner to organize Safe Crossing Week. Held in November, the purpose of the event is to encourage parents, teachers, and caregivers to teach elementary school children how to safely cross railroad tracks. Education materials, lesson plans, and information on Safe Crossing Week 2009 is available at

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