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NYT,pg1: Safety Group Closely Echoes Rail Industry (gets fed funding)

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:44 AM
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NYT,pg1: Safety Group Closely Echoes Rail Industry (gets fed funding)
Safety Group Closely Echoes Rail Industry

Published: November 14, 2004

....Operation Lifesaver is the nation's most influential rail-safety group, preaching its gospel of driver responsibility to judges, police officers, elected officials and the news media. No one disputes the value of its message - that drivers should pay attention at rail crossings - or the dedication of many of its volunteers. And its work is widely praised by police and community groups.

But documents show that the organization is tightly bound to the railroad industry, and critics, including many accident victims, say the group's message serves another agenda: to inoculate the railroads against liability in grade-crossing collisions.

Not only did a railroad help found Operation Lifesaver; rail industry officials make up half the organization's national board and provide much of the financing for its state chapters. It also gets millions of dollars from the railroads' federal regulator, which is itself closely intertwined with the industry.

And even as Operation Lifesaver speaks out about changing drivers' behavior, it spends little time on a range of safety matters that are the responsibility of the railroads and is largely silent on the benefits of warning lights and gates, which many experts say are among the most effective of all safety devices....
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