Operation Lifesaver is a national, non-profit education and awareness program dedicated to ending tragic collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and on railroad rights of way. To accomplish its mission, Operation Lifesaver promotes 3 E’s of safety:
Education: Operation Lifesaver strives to increase public awareness about the dangers around the rails. The program seeks to education both drivers and pedestrians to make safe decisions at crossings and around railroad tracks.
Enforcement: Operation Lifesaver promotes active enforcement of traffic laws relating to crossing signs and signals and private property laws related to trespassing.
Engineering: Operation Lifesaver encourages continued engineering research and innovation to improve the safety of railroad crossings.
Operation Lifesaver History
Operation Lifesaver started in Idaho in 1972 when the national average of collisions at highway-rail crossings exceeded 12,000 annually. A six-week public awareness campaign called “”Operation LifeSaver”” was sponsored by the office of Governor Cecil Andrus, the Idaho Peace Officers and Union Pacific Railroad as a one-time, one-state initiative.
During the campaign’s first year, Idaho’s crossing-related fatalities dropped by 43 percent. The next year, the Operation Lifesaver campaign spread to Nebraska where their collision rate was reduced by 26 percent.
Programs were started in Kansas and Georgia the following year, in 1974, and similar success was experienced. Georgia reduced their crossing-related fatalities by 64 percent the first year.
Between 1978 and 1986, while Operation Lifesaver operated under the auspices of the National Safety Council (NSC), other states started independent Operation Lifesaver programs. In 1986, the national program was released from the NSC and incorporated as a national, non-profit, educational organization with IRS Code 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.
Georgia Operation Lifesaver History
Georgia Operation Lifesaver began in 1974, under the auspices of the Georgia Safety Council, until 1988 when a full-time state coordinator was retained to re-organize the state program. Georgia Operation Lifesaver is now incorporated in the state of Georgia as a non-profit, tax-exempt, educational organization for highway-rail grade crossing safety and trespass prevention, with IRS 501(c)(3)status
Currently, there are over 70 active affiliate members including federal, state and local governmental agencies; businesses (including the state’s railroads); civic and service organizations; and other volunteer groups dedicated to safety at grade crossings and around tracks.
Free programs are presented to schools, businesses and civic organizations as well as specialized programs for school bus drivers, professional drivers, law enforcement and emergency responders. Over 100 Operation Lifesaver Authorized Volunteers (OLAVs) facilitate free presentations to educate children and adults about rail safety. To request a free presentation, or to learn more about Operation Lifesaver, please contact us.