Public urged to help #STOPTrackTragedies during first North American Rail Safety Week
WASHINGTON, D.C. / OTTAWA, Canada, September 24, 2018 – Operation Lifesaver, Inc. and Operation Lifesaver Canada are joining forces to launch a new rail-safety public-awareness campaign to mark the first joint observance of Rail Safety Week in North America, September 23 – 29, 2018.
The campaign, called #STOPTrackTragedies, features seven videos, each telling the personal stories of people affected by rail crossing or trespassing incidents — including victims, friends and family members, locomotive engineers, and first responders. One video will be released each day through social media during Rail Safety Week, and the full campaign can be viewed at stoptracktragedies.ca and oli.org.
Canada has marked its annual Rail Safety Week in April for more than 15 years, while the U.S. held its first Rail Safety Week in September 2017. Aligning the two countries’ Rail Safety Week dates in 2018 will enable a more coordinated – and impactful – North American rail-safety campaign, according to the non-profit rail safety education organizations.
Every year, 2,100 North Americans are killed or seriously injured when they engage in unsafe behavior around tracks and trains. Operation Lifesaver – which operates in the U.S. and Canada – works to prevent these needless incidents from happening.
“Our goal with #STOPTrackTragedies is to drive home the message that an unsafe decision made in a split second – whether it’s to go around a lowered gate at a rail crossing, or to trespass on the tracks – can have devastating consequences for you, your loved ones and members of your community,” said Sarah Mayes, National Director of Operation Lifesaver Canada.
“The new #STOPTrackTragedies campaign is intended to underscore the importance of the Rail Safety Week message – raising awareness across North America of the need for rail safety education to empower people to keep themselves safe near highway-rail grade crossings and railroad rights-of-way, and when using rail transit systems,” said OLI Interim PresidentWende Corcoran. We are proud to work with our rail safety partners at Operation Lifesaver Canada to save lives through this important initiative.”
“We must continue to target grade-crossing and trespasser deaths with an unrelenting commitment toward zero tolerance,” says Federal Railroad Administrator Ronald L. Batory. “Educating the motoring and pedestrian public about how to be safe near railroad tracks is a never-ending task that will help reduce risk while enhancing safety."
“Safety is the number one priority of the Federal Highway Administration,” said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Brandye Hendrickson. “We urge drivers, their passengers and everyone else traveling near these areas to use common sense and be alert when a train is approaching.”
In the U.S., activities and messaging will take place each day during Rail Safety Week, including:
- Sunday, September 23 kicks off the week with a focus on the message, “Lasting Impact” to underscore that rail-related incidents affect those involved with incidents, their friends, families and communities long after an incident occurs.
- Monday, September 24 will focus on the message “No Photos/videos on Train Tracks,” and educating professional and amateur photographers, videographers and filmmakers about the risks of illegality of taking photos, videos or filming on train tracks.
- Tuesday, September 25 will focus on “Law Enforcement Partnerships” and include the second annual observance of “Operation Clear Track,” with local, state, federal and railroad police stationed at railroad grade crossing and trespassing incident locations to hand out safety materials to motorists and pedestrians and enforce crossing and trespass laws.
- Wednesday, September 26 will focus on “Trespass Prevention,” with events targeted to educating pedestrians of the dangers posed by trespassing on tracks and trains, and how they can stay safe.
- Thursday, September 27 will be “Transit Safety Thursday,” with events at transit, light rail and commuter rail stations and materials on how to stay safe as a rail commuter or transit rider.
- Friday, September 28 will focus on “Crossing Safety,” with events and information aimed at new drivers, including “Red Out for Rail Safety” events at schools and in communities.
- Saturday, September 29 will celebrate “Community Connections” with safety blitzes, sidewalk chalk events and other awareness activities.
In Canada the #STOPTrackTragedies campaign will be promoted through ads on social media (Facebook and Twitter), in commuter papers, and through digital billboard ads in 14 communities across Canada.
Visitors to stoptracktragedies.ca and oli.org are asked to join OL’s campaign by sharing the videos and other messaging on social media using the hashtags #STOPTrackTragedies, #RailSafetyWeek and #RSW2018.
About Operation Lifesaver Canada
Operation Lifesaver Canada is a national public rail-safety program sponsored by Transport Canada, the Railway Association of Canada and its members, including CN, CP, VIA Rail, Metrolinx, exo, West Coast Express and Genesee & Wyoming, among others. Through its national network of Rail Safety Ambassadors, partnerships with safety councils, police, the trucking industry and community groups, and innovative tools such as its virtual-reality Look. Listen. Live. campaign, Operation Lifesaver Canada works to save lives by educating Canadians about the hazards of rail crossings and trespassing on railway property. Canadians can follow OL Canada on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep up-to-date on the latest rail safety news by visiting operationlifesaver.ca.
About Operation Lifesaver, Inc.
Operation Lifesaver is a non-profit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and preventing trespassing on or near railroad tracks. A national network of trained volunteers gives free presentations on rail safety and a public awareness campaign, “See Tracks? Think Train!” provides the public with tips and statistics to encourage safe behavior near the tracks. Learn more at oli.org; follow OLI on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.