Oceanside, CA – The North County Transit District’s (NCTD) Board of Directors adopted a proclamation at its July 16, 2020 Board Meeting recognizing September 2020 as “Rail Safety Month.” In doing so, NCTD affirms its commitment to safety and saving lives through the prevention of needless tragedy on and near the tracks.
According to statistics kept by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and California Operation Lifesaver, Incorporated (CAOL), the State of California continues to be identified as having the highest number of preventable railroad trespasser fatalities and injuries of all states in the nation. There were 236 tragic rail incidents (directly related to trespassing) recorded statewide in CY2019 of which 95 resulted in injury and 141 were fatal.
In an effort to reduce these tragedies, State Legislators passed a bill in 2009 that designated September as “Rail Safety Month.” Each year, passenger and freight rail operators across the country partner to remind pedestrians and motorists to exercise caution when near tracks, to heed the warning signals when crossing railroad tracks, and to always “See Tracks, Think Trains™”.
NCTD holds safety as a core value in the provision and operation of public transit throughout its service area. NCTD takes every opportunity to incorporate the fundamental principles of safety in its operational plans, procedures, and processes. NCTD also takes steps to proactively communicate public safety awareness and education near and at its rail grade crossings and rail right-of-way to members of the communities it serves. This is done through public outreach and educational efforts throughout the year including virtual learning opportunities for schools that are interested in having a safety expert speak with their students.
NCTD has partnered with CAOL to produce a rail safety video calling out the facts and fiction about the dangers of the tracks. The video can be found on NCTD’s YouTube channel.
During the month of September, NCTD staff will host giveaway days on the COASTER and SPRINTER trains to educate the public about safety and hand out NCTD shirts and other items. In addition, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office and Carlsbad Police Department will partner with NCTD to create educational videos about track safety, the dangers of jumping from train trestle bridges, and why trespassing on the train right-of-way is prohibited.
“The issue of safety around the tracks is always an important one. NCTD is diligent about safety protocols but it’s also necessary for the public to play their part by respecting the trains,” said Tony Kranz, NCTD Board Chair and Encinitas Councilmember. “We encourage everyone to pay attention while near the tracks. That includes avoiding distracted driving, listening for train horns, and keeping away from the tracks while exercising or enjoying the outdoors. Together, we can work toward ensuring safety and avoiding train accidents in our county.”
For more information about NCTD safety and security, visit GoNCTD.com/safety-security.