On March 1, 2018 Mr. Dave Bruna, representing Operation Lifesaver, was a guest speaker for Mr. Scott’s Driver’s Education class. He is a R.S.E.R. Instructor and also a train engineer for Union Pacific Railroad and resides in Marysville, Kansas.
Operation Lifesaver’s mission and purpose:
Operation Lifesaver is a nonprofit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and trespassing on or near railroad tracks.
Operation Lifesaver’s History: They started in 1972 when the average number of collisions at U.S. highway-rail grade crossings had risen above 12,000 incidents annually. To address this, the Idaho governor’s office, along with the Idaho Peace Officers and Union Pacific Railroad launched a six-week public awareness educational campaign called Operation Lifesaver to promote highway-rail grade crossing safety. After Idaho’s crossing-related fatalities fell that year by 43%, the successful program was adopted by Nebraska (1973) and Kansas and Georgia the following year. Within a decade it had spread around the country; in 1986 a non-profit national Operation Lifesaver office was created to help support the efforts of state OL programs and raise national awareness on highway-rail grade crossing issues.
Mr. Dave Bruna, from Marysville, Kansas has been with the Union Pacific Railroad for many many years. He plans on retiring in June of this year. He informed Fairbury students that he has had seven incidents where there were collisions with passenger vehicles. He is very passionate about his job and teaching Operation Lifesaver to young drivers. He told me if he can save just one life, it’s all worth it as he is not paid to teach the classes. He does it all on a volunteer basis. This year he put on a presentation and showed two different videos. Statistics say it takes a fully loaded train traveling at 55 MPH up to 18 football fields to come to a complete stop. That is measured from the time the train engineer sees a problem and puts the train into a panic stop situation. Trains can’t swerve out of the way and when one is approaching, it is an optical illusion just as it is when a jet comes in for a landing. I think it did open the eyes of Fairbury students. Mr. Scott wants to thank Dave for coming to his classes over the years and doing such a fine job. I know his passion has influenced a lot of students to stop, look, listen and live at all highway-rail crossings. It’s programs like Operation Lifesaver that are great for our country and our communities.
Officer Charlie Cook from the Nebraska State Patrol will be here on March 20, 2018 to talk to the kids about texting and driving. He usually also talks to the kids about the dangers of drinking and driving. There are 27 students in Driver’s Education this year.