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NHTSA and FRA Rail Crossing Safety Campaign videos

“So many fatalities at highway-railway crossings are preventable, and this campaign is key to raising public awareness and saving lives,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao urges motorists to stop because trains can’t.


April 18, 2019 -- The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) relaunched a $5.6 million public safety awareness campaignStop. Trains Can’t. – urging Americans to take greater care at highway-rail grade crossings.

In 2018 alone, 270 people were killed at railroad crossings. Of those, 99 people died after the driver went around lowered crossing gate arms – a 10-year high.

This week, NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King met with Charlene Threats whose 17-year-old daughter Jazzmyne Ashworth died in Tennessee when a train collided with the car she was riding in during the summer of 2018. That crash killed three people.

Charlene Threats is speaking out hoping to help educate others about railroad crossings. 

Every four hours in America, a person or vehicle is struck by a train at a rail crossing. Over the past five years, 798 people have died while trying to drive across railroad tracks.

“Road safety is NHTSA’s mission, and too many lives are lost every year when drivers disregard safety warnings at rail crossings,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi R. King. “Working with Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao and FRA, we want every American to understand the danger surrounding rail crossings and to act with safety in mind. Trying to save a few minutes can cost you your life.”

Given their size and weight, neither freight nor passenger trains can stop easily to avoid cars or other vehicles on the tracks. Trains cannot swerve out of the way, and a freight train traveling 55 mph can take more than a mile to stop, even when emergency brakes are applied.

FRA Administrator Ronald Batory sat down with Todd Pollard, a locomotive engineer and conductor, who has witnessed trains colliding with motorists who try to go around lowered crossing gate arms.

Locomotive engineer and conductor Todd Pollard tells FRA Administrator Ronald Batory about the emotional toll train-vehicle collisions have on locomotive engineers.

“We are pleased to collaborate with our colleagues at NHTSA to improve driver behavior at highway-rail crossings and reduce preventable injuries and deaths,” said FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory. “Rail safety isn’t just about the safe movement of passenger and freight trains; it’s also about helping the American public be safe near railroad tracks.”

The campaign’s targeted advertising will run from Tuesday, April 16 through Sunday, May 12. It includes video spots that will run on digital and social platforms, radio advertising, and social media messaging, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Watch the new Stop. Trains Can’t. campaign video.

While national in scope, ads will be targeted to high-incident communities in the following states: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Texas.