Operation Lifesaver reminds photographers to stay safe, stay away from train tracks

Photo by Jeremy Brooks (Flickr Creative Commons)

WASHINGTON, DC, May 17, 2012 – Operation Lifesaver (OLI, www.oli.org), the rail safety education nonprofit organization, urges professional photographers to be aware of the risk to life and limb in the current trend of taking photos of high school seniors and wedding parties on train tracks or trestles.

Operation Lifesaver President Helen M. Sramek today participated in a webinar with Professional Photographers of America (PPA, www.ppa.com) to educate photographers and others about the importance of safety around tracks and trains. She shared six “must-know" tips for professional photographers before considering a photo shoot near the tracks.

"We understand the passion that photographers have for their work; however, they may not realize that using train tracks as a backdrop for portraits of high school seniors, wedding parties, and families is not only dangerous, it is illegal trespassing,” said Sramek. “As part of Operation Lifesaver’s mission to reduce deaths and injuries around trains, we urge professional and amateur photographers alike to set the right example for others.”

Sramek noted that about every three hours in the U.S., a person or vehicle is hit by a train.

Kristen Hartman, Director of Member Value & Experience for PPA, adds "PPA is pleased to work with Operation Lifesaver to educate our members about these important safety issues."

Last year, almost 800 people were injured or killed while trespassing on railroad property throughout the United States, according to preliminary Federal Railroad Administration statistics.

The aforementioned webinar is available to PPA members online at http://www.ppa.com/benefits/memberessential_archive.php (To become a PPA member, visit www.ppa.com.) 

6 Must-Know Things about Photographing near Tracks and Trains  

1.            Trains can’t stop quickly to avoid people or vehicles on the tracks.

2.            An optical illusion makes it hard to determine a train's distance from you - and its speed.  

3.            The average train overhangs the track by at least three feet.

4.            Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and rights-of-way are private property.

5.            No tracks should be assumed to be abandoned or inactive.

6.            People in your community mimic your behavior.


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 volunteers provides free presentations on rail safety. For more information or to request a free safety presentation, visit www.oli.org; follow OLI on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

About the Professional Photographers of America

PPA, an international, non-profit association for professional photographers, has roots back to 1869. It exists to assist its 24,000 members with unparalleled protection, education and resources to ensure their continued success in the photographic industry. Members look to PPA for a vibrant and interactive community, for unique benefits like the Indemnification Trust, and for a full-time copyright and government affairs staff, an advocate for their rights. For more information, please visit www.ppa.com.


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]

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