Operation Lifesaver releases VPSA on the dangers of train track selfies

WASHINGTON, DC, April 13, 2016 – To warn smart phone users of the dangers and illegality of taking “selfies” while on train tracks, the national nonprofit rail safety education group Operation Lifesaver, Inc.(OLI) is releasing a new animated video public service announcement (VPSA). The VPSA takes a humorous approach to raise awareness of the perils of this activity among the selfie-obsessed, especially younger social media fans and their parents, as well as risk-taking 18-28 year old males. The VPSA is the second in Operation Lifesaver’s campaign to dissuade people from taking train track photos.

Railroad tracks rank as the world’s third most deadly place to take a selfie, according to a January 2016 study by Priceonomics, yet the trend of photos on tracks does not seem to be slowing.

“Operation Lifesaver shares a growing concern about this deadly trend with our partners at the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), who funded the video,” said OLI President and CEO Bonnie Murphy. “A total of 13 deaths and four injuries have resulted from people photographing on train tracks since 2011. With more train track selfies being posted online each day, we fear that these preventable tragedies will continue. This VPSA is part of our effort to engage with, and warn, anyone who mistakenly thinks that train tracks are an appropriate place for a selfie,” she stated.

The VPSA campaign will include Facebook and Instagram video sponsored posts, along with YouTube advertising and other targeted ad placements to bring the message to smart phone users on the social media outlets they post on every day.

Murphy said the VPSA will be available on the OLI website and via social media as part of Operation Lifesaver’s ongoing “See Tracks? Think Train!” campaign.

Last fall Operation Lifesaver released the first VPSA in the animated campaign, aimed at professional photographers, and worked with Professional Photographers of America (PPA) to promote the VPSA and educate members via a webinar, “Safety First: Photography Near Tracks and Trains.” OLI has also blogged about the issue and released sharable social graphics aimed at photographers, selfie-takers and teens.

Operation Lifesaver launched the “See Tracks? Think Train!” campaign in 2014. Preliminary 2015 statistics from the FRA cite an increase of 2 percent in overall trespass casualties and 7.6 percent in trespass deaths; trespass injuries fell 4.3 percent.

Said Murphy, “We want to caution everyone with a smart phone or a camera about the dangers of photographing on or near tracks. We encourage people to share our video, spread the safety message and save lives.”



About Operation Lifesaver

Operation Lifesaver's mission is to end collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and along railroad rights of way. A national network of trained volunteers provides free presentations on rail safety. Learn more at http://www.oli.org. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Media Contact

Operation Lifesaver, Inc. understands the importance of the news media’s role in helping the public make safe decisions around tracks and trains.

To request further information about Operation Lifesaver’s activities, or for additional safety information, email general[at]oli.org or contact our national headquarters office at 703-739-0308.

If you are a reporter seeking information for a local news story, view our list of state Operation Lifesaver program contacts.

If you are on deadline for a story and would like Operation Lifesaver, Inc.'s perspective on a highway-rail safety or trespass prevention topic, email news[at]oli.org

About Operation Lifesaver

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. Our team consists of nationwide network of volunteers who work to educate people about rail safety, state coordinators who lead the efforts in states across the U.S. and a national office in Washington, D.C., that supports state programs, develops education materials, and creates public awareness campaigns for audiences of all ages. 


National Office

Operation Lifesaver, Inc.
425 Third Street SW, Suite 915
Washington, D.C. 20024

Fax: 703-519-8267
Email : [email protected]

Media Inquiries: [email protected]

Transit Inquiries: [email protected]

Our Staff

Engage with OLI

Let's Keep the Conversation Going.

OLI-on-Facebook OLI-on-Twitter OLI-on-Pinterest  OLI-on-Instagram

Sign Up for Updates