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Public urged to #STOPTrackTragedies during Rail Safety Week 2021 and beyond

(Source: Operation Lifesaver press release, September 20, 2021)

WASHINGTON, D.C. / OTTAWA, Canada / MEXICO CITY, Mexico — Every year, 2,100 North Americans are killed or seriously injured when they engage in unsafe behavior around tracks and trains. In the U.S. alone, a person or vehicle is hit by a train every 3 hours.

Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI), Operation Lifesaver Canada and the Mexican Association of Railroads (AMF) are joining forces to help prevent tragedies around railroad tracks and trains by observing Rail Safety Week across North America, September 20-26. This annual week-long event concentrates public attention on the need for rail safety education and saves lives by educating and empowering the public to make safe decisions around tracks and trains.

OLI’s national office and state Operation Lifesaver programs across the U.S. will connect with their communities virtually and in person, sharing rail safety messages and urging the public to help #STOPTrackTragedies.

“Across the United States Operation Lifesaver state programs will share rail safety messages each day during Rail Safety Week underscoring our core mission – to save lives,” said Rachel Maleh, Executive Director of Operation Lifesaver, Inc. “We are grateful to our safety partners at the U.S. Department of Transportation and in the first responder community as well as the many other organizations who share the rail safety message this week, but more importantly each and every day.”

Know the facts. Make good decisions. Share the rail safety message,” Maleh continued. “Together, we can #STOPTrackTragedies.”

As part of Rail Safety week, new video and audio public service announcements (PSAs) as well as social media campaigns are being released. An ongoing campaign called #STOPTrackTragedies features videos with the personal stories of people directly affected by rail crossing or trespassing incidents — including victims, friends and family members, locomotive engineers, and first responders. The full campaign can be viewed at oli.org/stop-track-tragedies or stoptracktragedies.ca.

“Our goal during Rail Safety Week is to drive home the message that an unsafe decision made in a split second – whether it’s to go around a lowered gate at a rail crossing, or to trespass on the tracks – can have devastating consequences for you, your loved ones and members of your community,” said Sarah Mayes, National Director of Operation Lifesaver Canada. “Our wish ― especially given OL Canada’s 40th anniversary this year ― is to bring the number of rail crossing and trespassing-related deaths and injuries in Canada to zero.”

In the U.S., along with the PSAs and a social media ad campaign, the following themes will be emphasized:

• Monday, September 20 kicks off the week with the overarching theme of #STOPTrackTragedies and a focus on Media Outreach and Rail Safety Week Proclamations in states and localities.
• Tuesday, September 21 focuses on the fifth annual observance of Operation Clear Track in the U.S. and Canada emphasizing the importance of obeying crossing safety and anti-trespass laws. Law enforcement partners will conduct awareness exercises, Officer on the Train activities and other in person positive enforcement events; first responders will share RSW messages virtually through social media, email messaging and website posts.
• Wednesday, September 22 highlights Crossing Safety, with outreach to the general public, farmers and farm machine operators as well as outdoor enthusiasts on safe crossing techniques with special attention to the Blue and White Emergency Notification System (ENS) signs at crossings.
• Thursday, September 23, Transit Safety Thursday and Professional Driver Safety, showcases how to stay safe as a rail commuter or transit rider as well as safe choices around railroad tracks and trains for professional drivers.
• Friday, September 24 focuses on Wearing Red or “Red Out” for Rail Safety by encouraging safety organizations, partners, schools, railroads and the general public to wear red at public events and to share photos on social media.
• Saturday, September 25 highlights Trespass Prevention, educating pedestrians, cyclists, joggers and outdoor enthusiasts about the dangers posed by being on or near the tracks.
• Sunday, September 26 promotes No Photo, Video or Selfie is Worth the Risk, to warn professional and amateur photographers against putting themselves or others in danger by illegally taking photos, videos, or filming near tracks and trains.

Join the virtual Rail Safety Week effort by knowing the facts, making good decisions and sharing rail safety messages. Together, we can #STOPTrackTragedies.

“We are excited to join Rail Safety Week 2021,” said Iker de Luisa, Director General, Association of Mexican Railroads (AMF). “We urge drivers, passengers and anyone traveling near railroad tracks and trains to use common sense and be alert. Our priority is the promotion of safe interactions between railroads and the community. #VesViasPiensaEnTren #CuidaTuVida.”

Monday, September 20, 2021

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