What are the things you cherish most? Many of us value time spent with family and friends, especially during the holidays. At Operation Lifesaver, we value these things too, and they reinforce our mission to reduce rail-related deaths and injuries.
Recently the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released statistics showing that deaths on U.S. highways rose in the first half of 2015. Pedestrian fatalities also appear to be rising in 2015, according to NHTSA. Reasons cited for the rise in deaths this year include people driving more miles, texting and other distractions, including drunken, drugged and drowsy driving and more teenagers behind the wheel.
Distraction also plays a role in pedestrian-rail trespass fatalities. News reports show that so far this year, more than 30 people were killed walking on tracks while using earbuds or headphones; half of those killed were in their teens or younger. Preliminary 2015 statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration also show an increase in total rail trespass fatalities.
As we focus on the positive this holiday season, we encourage you to keep yourself and your loved ones safe to help reverse these trends. Try associating these three words – time, family and friends – with best safety practices.
Time: When driving, take the time to slow down, look and listen for trains as you approach highway-rail grade crossings to make every crossing a safe one, especially in winter weather.
Family: Talk to your family about the importance of being alert whenever you are near tracks and trains.
Friends: Let your friends know that distraction can be deadly – stay focused and never use smart phones, earbuds or headphones when near train tracks.
All of us at Operation Lifesaver offer our best wishes to you and your loved ones for happy holidays and a safe and prosperous New Year.