Safety Group Says Headphone Study Underscores need for Caution near Train Tracks, offers Tips

WASHINGTON, DC, January 18, 2012 – A rise in headphone-related pedestrian incidents points to the need for increased awareness of the dangers of walking on or near train tracks, according to Helen Sramek, President, Operation Lifesaver (, the rail safety education nonprofit organization.  

“The majority of fatal headphone-related incidents examined in the University of Maryland School of Medicine study involved trains, underscoring the need for our increased safety efforts,” Sramek said. She noted that Operation Lifesaver created a public service announcement (PSA) campaign on the issue of distracted pedestrians that has run in Baltimore, Atlanta and elsewhere. View the PSA here: The study appeared in the latest issue of Injury Prevention.

While rail-related deaths and injuries have been reduced over the 40 years that Operation Lifesaver has been making safety presentations across the U.S., studies like this show there is still work to be done, Sramek said.  “Operation Lifesaver’s safety speakers tell audiences in their communities to stay off and stay away from train tracks, to stay alive,” she said.

Operation Lifesaver’s Top 4 Rail Safety Tips for Pedestrians 

1.    Remember to cross railroad tracks only at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings, and obey all warning signs and signals posted there.
2.    Remove earphones, turn down music, and don’t text or phone when using designated railroad crossings.     
3.    Today's trains are quieter than ever, and an approaching train is always closer and moving faster than you think.
4.    A train can extend three feet or more beyond the rails, putting the safety zone for pedestrians well beyond the three foot mark.

Photo credit: Mark Grapengater

Operation Lifesaver ( is a national, non-profit safety education group whose goal is to eliminate deaths and injuries at railroad crossings and along railroad rights of way. It has programs in all 50 states with trained and certified presenters who provide free talks to raise the public’s safety awareness around tracks and trains.



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] 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]

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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