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Rail Safety Week Observance Going Virtual in 2020

Operation Lifesaver
·5 min read

Public urged to help #STOPTrackTragedies

Rail Safety Week logo
Rail Safety Week logo
Rail Safety Week logo

Washington, DC, Sept. 21, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Every year, 2,100 North Americans are killed or seriously injured when they engage in unsafe behavior around tracks and trains. Operation Lifesaver, a nonprofit organization operating in the U.S. and Canada, works to eliminate these preventable incidents. This year, the Mexican Association of Railroads (AMF) joins forces with Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI) and Operation Lifesaver Canada to observe Rail Safety Week in North America, September 21-27.

“Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year Rail Safety Week will emphasize virtual activities and social media to share our lifesaving messages,” said Rachel Maleh, Executive Director of Operation Lifesaver, Inc. “We’re kicking off the week today with state and local Rail Safety Week proclamations. OLI’s national office and state Operation Lifesaver programs across the U.S. will connect with their communities virtually by sharing rail safety messages about making safe choices around trains and tracks.”

As part of Rail Safety week, new video and audio public service announcements (PSAs) are being released in an ongoing public awareness campaign aimed at saving lives near railroad tracks. The 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.

“Safety is an endless commitment of the Federal Railroad Administration with an unwavering goal of zero fatalities by the movement of people and goods in our nation’s rail system,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Ronald Batory. “We appreciate Operation Lifesaver’s continuing partnership toward this shared goal.”

“Safety on our nation’s roads, bridges and highways is paramount to the Federal Highway Administration,” said Federal Highway Administrator Nicole R. Nason. “During Rail Safety Week and throughout the year, we urge those driving over rail crossings to exercise caution,” she said.

“Safety is the number one priority for the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA),” said FTA Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams. “Rail Safety Week is an important opportunity to encourage safe behavior by being alert at all times around rail crossings.”

“Our state Operation Lifesaver programs will share safety messages each day during rail safety week underscoring our core mission – to save lives,” continued Maleh. “We are grateful to our safety partners at the US Department of Transportation, first responders and many other organizations for their support.”

“The #STOPTrackTragedies stories are heart-wrenching, but they also have an important message: you can’t go back. They really urge people to make safe decisions around tracks and trains,” said Sarah Mayes, National Director of Operation Lifesaver Canada. “Behaving unsafely — whether it’s playing on railway equipment, using tracks as a shortcut, or even glancing at your cellphone at a crossing — can have devastating consequences for you, your loved ones and members of your community.”

“Mexico is joining Rail Safety Week with Canada and the US. Last year we had as a national average, 1.7 incidents per day involving pedestrians and vehicles with rail freight operations. We are working with federal, State and local authorities to minimize casualties and material losses,” said Oscar Del Cueto, AMF President – Mexico.

“Our priority is the promotion of a safe interaction between railroads and the community. A few weeks ago, we announced one of our strongest alliances, with Waze. Alerts are now generated for drivers in the application using data from the Mexican railway infrastructure. We are excited to join Rail Safety Week 2020,” said Alejandro Alvarez, Chairman of the Railroad Regulatory Agency – Mexico.

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

  • Monday, September 21 kicks off the week a focus on Media Outreach and Rail Safety Week Proclamations in states and localities.

  • Tuesday, September 22 focuses on Law Enforcement and First Responder Partnerships as part of the fourth annual observance of Operation Clear Track, emphasizing the importance of obeying crossing safety and anti-trespass laws.

  • Wednesday, September 23 highlights Crossing Safety, with outreach to professional drivers on safe crossing techniques and highlighting the blue and white emergency notification system (ENS) signs at crossings.

  • Thursday, September 24, Transit Safety Thursday, showcases how to stay safe as a rail commuter or transit rider.

  • Friday, September 25 focuses on Wearing Red or “Red Out” for Rail Safety to show support for safety near tracks and trains.

  • Saturday, September 26 highlights Trespass Prevention, educating pedestrians about the dangers posed by being on or near the tracks.

  • Sunday, September 27 promotes No Photos on Tracks messaging underscoring the risks of illegally taking photos, videos, or filming on train tracks for professional and amateur photographers alike.

Join the virtual Rail Safety Week effort by sharing the Stop Track Tragedies videos and social media messaging using the hashtags #STOPTrackTragedies and #railsafetyweek.

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About Operation Lifesaver, Inc.

Operation Lifesaver is a non-profit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and preventing trespassing on or near railroad tracks. A national network of trained volunteers gives free presentations on rail safety and a public awareness campaign, “See Tracks? Think Train!” provides tips and statistics to encourage safe behavior near the tracks. Learn more about Rail Safety Week; follow OLI on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.

About Operation Lifesaver Canada

Operation Lifesaver Canada is a national public rail-safety program sponsored by Transport Canada, the Railway Association of Canada and its members, including CN, CP, VIA Rail, Metrolinx, exo, West Coast Express and Genesee & Wyoming, among others. Through its national network of Rail Safety Ambassadors, partnerships with safety councils, police, the trucking industry and community groups, and innovative tools such as its virtual reality Look. Listen. Live. campaign, Operation Lifesaver Canada works to save lives by educating Canadians about the hazards of rail crossings and trespassing on railway property. Canadians can follow OL Canada on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep up-to-date on the latest rail safety news by visiting operationlifesaver.ca.

About the Mexican Association of Railroads (AMF)

The Asociación Mexicana de Ferrocarriles, AC (AMF) was established in 2004 to represent the country’s private railway companies and promote their activity. In 2008 passenger rail companies joined the AMF. Learn more at https://amf.org.mx/ and follow AMF on Twitter.

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CONTACT: Jennifer DeAngelis Operation Lifesaver 202-815-4340 jdeangelis@oli.org