ALEA Operation Clear Track adds ‘Train to Drive’

Published 5:23 pm Friday, September 22, 2023

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Whether motorists are veterans, inexperienced drivers, or make their living behind the wheel of a bus or a commercial vehicle, staying safe around railway tracks is all about knowing the rules. 

Each year, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) joins fellow law enforcement agencies and  first responders across the nation and in Canada to participate in the annual “Operation Clear Track,” the single largest rail safety law enforcement initiative in North America. Today, ALEA Troopers will be  stationed at railroad crossings and other various locations across the state to distribute educational  materials to motorists, pedestrians and cyclists to reinforce the importance of crossing and trespass laws. 

Additionally, ALEA will share rail safety messages via social media throughout Rail Safety Week which  began Monday, Sept. 18, and ends Sept. 24. Included in this year’s campaign is a virtual “Train to Drive” video which allows users to make real-time safety decisions and put their knowledge to the test.  

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“The virtual driver training program is a great online tool provided by Operation Lifesaver that gives  everyone a chance to get in the driver’s seat and make real-time decisions, while also safely displaying the  devastating consequences of the wrong decision,” said ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor. “Unfortunately, a person or vehicle is hit by a train every three hours in the United States. Many of the first responders across our state have responded to these tragic incidents and fully understand the lasting impact these events have on a family as well as the community. We encourage everyone to join our Agency in this national initiative and practice railroad safety not only during Rail Safety Week 2023, but every day of  the year.”  

Quick Safety Tips for Drivers: 

  • Wait, Look Both Ways – Trains may be closer and traveling faster than they appear. They also  can run on any track, in any direction at any time. Always look and listen for trains before  proceeding through a crossing.  
  • Cross Legally and Safely – The only safe and legal place for anyone to cross railroad tracks is at  a designated crossing. 
  • Don’t Get Caught in the Middle – Make sure you or your vehicle are not stopped in the middle  of a grade crossing, waiting for traffic to move. Leave your vehicle if it stalls or gets stuck on the  tracks and immediately call the railway or 911 to stop rail traffic.  
  • You vs. Train – This is not a race! Never attempt to outrun or beat a train. Trains always have  the right of way.  
  • Stay Alert – Be aware of other road users such as cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles that may be  required to stop at rail crossings. Avoid distractions and always stay alert while behind the wheel. 

Get in the driver’s seat and access the “Train to Drive” safety videos at: Train to Drive