Take a quick look at rail-related trespass deaths so far this year: the news is not good. After dropping from 2014 to 2015, rail-related trespass deaths and injuries appear to be rising substantially in 2016. According to Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) preliminary statistics, rail trespass deaths rose nearly 20 percent from January through August 2016 compared to the same period in 2015, and injuries rose 12 percent.
While there may be many reasons for the increase, including distraction from mobile devices, one type of trespass incident seems to be contributing to the problem: people filming videos while illegally trespassing on train tracks. In Michigan this past August, a 27-year-old man filming a freight train traveling on one track was hit and injured by an Amtrak train from the other direction. And last year a fitness model and a personal trainer were killed while filming near tracks in two separate incidents.
To raise awareness of the dangers of taking videos on or too close to train tracks, this week Operation Lifesaver, Inc. is releasing our newest video titled, “No Video is Worth the Risk.” The goal of our new video, again produced with funding from our FRA safety partners, is to help amateur filmmakers and users of popular social media video apps avoid tragedy on the tracks. In the words of Operation Lifesaver, Inc. President and CEO Bonnie Murphy, “Rail trespass deaths and injuries are especially heartbreaking because they are preventable.”
Unfortunately, these tragic incidents are on the rise, reversing progress we were seeing with our “See Tracks? Think Train!” rail safety education campaign.
What can you do? Please send the links below to our new video and previous photo-related videos to your family and friends, or share our Tweetables via social media. Thanks for helping us to reverse this startling trend.