updated 6/9/2011 10:17:58 AM ET 2011-06-09T14:17:58

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 9, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Statistics show that approximately one out of four railroad crossing crashes involve vehicles that require a Commercial Driver License (CDL) to operate. To address this issue, Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI, www.oli.org) today unveiled the Rail Safety Challenge, a new videogame-style online experience that prepares professional drivers for situations they could face on the road. Operation Lifesaver released the interactive online learning program at press conferences here in Pennsylvania and five other states across the U.S., timed to coincide with the observance of International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD).  Safety partners from trucking, state and local law enforcement, and railroad companies joined the nonprofit safety group in support of the program.

"Total highway-rail vehicle incidents and crashes involving CDL vehicles increased in 2010 from 2009," said Operation Lifesaver Inc. President Helen M. Sramek.  "As the leader in highway-rail grade crossing safety education, OLI is pleased to offer trucking companies, independent drivers and other organizations the opportunity to use this state of the art safety program designed specifically for professional truck drivers," Sramek said.  

Trucking industry representatives, law enforcement organizations and railroad companies joined Operation Lifesaver officials at events to launch the Rail Safety Challenge program in Alabama, California, Mississippi, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Texas, Sramek noted.  Other Operation Lifesaver events to mark International Level Crossing Awareness Day were held throughout the week in 14 additional states.

A preview of the Rail Safety for Professional Drivers e-Learning program is available at http://bit.ly/kcFLL5.  The e-Learning program was made possible by a grant from the Federal Railroad Administration. http://www.fra.dot.gov/.

The e-Learning program's simulated driving environment allows drivers to work independently and exposes them to worst-case scenarios that require quick thinking and critical decision-making.  "Our goal as we launch this new safety program is to ensure that every CDL driver has the information they need to safely cross a highway-rail grade crossing, every single time," concluded Sramek. 

About Operation Lifesaver

Operation Lifesaver is a national, non-profit safety education group whose goal is to eliminate deaths and injuries at railroad crossings and along railroad rights of way. It has programs in all 50 states with trained and certified presenters who provide free safety talks to raise awareness around tracks and trains. Learn more at www.oli.org.

About the e-Learning program

Individual drivers can go online to take the Rail Safety Challenge at www.oli.org. (Under Quick Links in the top left corner, click on "Pro Driver e-Learning.")  There is no charge for individual professional drivers to participate. The course does not capture scores, names or email addresses, only the number of people who complete the Challenge. Large companies who wish to incorporate this program into their training should contact Operation Lifesaver at 1-800-537-6224.

About International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD)

International Level Crossing Awareness Day began in 2009 in Europe to call attention to the need for public education on railway safety issues as a way to save lives. This year, 39 countries worldwide are holding events in observance of ILCAD. Learn more at http://bit.ly/mESlkU

This information was brought to you by Cision http://www.cisionwire.com

http://www.cisionwire.com/operation-lifesaver--inc-/r/safety-nonprofit-seeks-to-reduce-truck-train-crossing-collisions------,c9132848

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