Operation Lifesaver Launches New Public Awareness Campaign to Reduce Train-Related Pedestrian Deaths and Injuries
The Common Sense campaign is designed to educate the public about the risks of trespassing on railroad property. The campaign includes an interactive Web site, internet ads, videos, and local events. It will be test-marketed in areas where pedestrian rail trespass incidents frequently occur, including targeted local markets. The internet ads, videos, safety tips, and other information are online at www.CommonSenseUseIt.com.
Injuries and fatalities associated with trespassing on railroad property are a significant — and growing — problem. According to Federal Railroad Administration statistics, the casualty rate for all rail trespassers rose in 2008. More than 870 people died or were injured in railroad-related trespassing incidents in 2008, and the numbers have topped 9,000 in the last ten years.
“Many Americans have no idea that walking or playing around train tracks, fishing from a railroad bridge, or riding their all-terrain vehicle on railroad tracks is potentially deadly, and always illegal,” said
“Young adults also may be distracted by cell phones, texting, or listening to MP3 players if they’re near the tracks. This new public awareness campaign has a simple message: staying away from the tracks is common sense, and it can save your life,” said
The Common Sense campaign kicks off with a news conference at the National Press Club, with remarks by
States with the highest number of pedestrian rail trespass deaths in 2008 include:
Federal Railroad Administrator Szabo notes that 18 to 34-year-olds represent nearly 36 percent of all the rail-related pedestrian casualties that occurred last year. “Unfortunately, railroad trespass fatalities continue to occur far too often. Through this public-private safety partnership, the Common Sense initiative will raise public awareness and understanding about the inherent risks of trespassing.”
“Pedestrian injuries and fatalities on railroad tracks are preventable,” said CSX Corporation’s Ward. “People don’t often understand the impact of these incidents on train crews. We are pleased to work with Operation Lifesaver, the FRA and our industry colleagues in this important effort.”
Hanagriff gave a police officer’s perspective on the issue. “A legitimate goal of law enforcement should be to keep trains moving through their jurisdictions; public education and enforcement strategies assist in achieving this goal while keeping the community safe,” he said.
Sramek noted the significance of the major railroads joining together to sponsor a new campaign targeted to a specific demographic. “This united effort on the part of our industry partners, coupled with support from FRA, allows us to disseminate important safety messages using media that will reach this age group,” she said.
“Operation Lifesaver’s proven safety education programs, along with the efforts of the rail industry and public transportation agencies, have saved lives at highway-rail intersections over the past 20 years,” Sramek continued. “Now we’ll be applying that focus to reducing rail trespassers, using new media to help get people’s attention.”
Railroad companies partnering with Operation Lifesaver’s Common Sense campaign include CSX, Union Pacific, Amtrak, BNSF, Norfolk Southern, and Kansas City Southern.
About Operation Lifesaver
Operation Lifesaver, Inc. 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. Operation Lifesaver has programs in all 50 states and the
Common Sense Safety Tips around Tracks and Trains
- The only safe place to cross railroad tracks is at a public crossing — designated by the crossbuck.
- Turn your cell phone and MP3 players off when you’re near train tracks. Forget texting, as it could be a deadly distraction near the tracks. Trains are quieter than you think, go faster than they appear, and do not run on set schedules.
- Look both ways and listen before crossing train tracks. Expect a train at any time.
- Anywhere other than a public crossing, stay off and away from the tracks.
- Tracks, trestles, rail yards and equipment are private property. If you hunt, fish or ride your ATV on the tracks, you are trespassing.
SOURCE Operation Lifesaver