Operation Lifesaver is a 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:
Operation Lifesaver strives to increase public awareness about the dangers around the rails. The program seeks to educate both drivers and pedestrians to make safe decisions at crossings and around railroad tracks.
Operation Lifesaver promotes active enforcement of traffic laws relating to crossing signs and signals and private property laws related to trespassing.
Operation Lifesaver encourages continued engineering research and innovation to improve the safety of railroad crossings.
Operation Lifesaver started in Idaho in 1972 when the national average of collisions at highway-rail grade 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. Kansas and Georgia experienced similar success the following year.
Today, Operation Lifesaver programs are active in 49 states and the District of Columbia nationwide.