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Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI) — in partnership with the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and two federal agencies — yesterday launched its national public service campaign designed to reduce pedestrian and motorist injuries and fatalities around railroad tracks.The "See tracks? Think train!" campaign features bilingual television, radio, print and billboard advertisements aimed at educating motorists and pedestrians about rail safety in the hopes of saving lives, OLI officials said during a telephone conference with reporters yesterday."Every day someone's risky behavior around railroad tracks gets them injured or killed," said OLI President and Chief Executive Officer Joyce Rose. "Our goal with this campaign is to make people think twice before doing something risky or unsafe."
Aiding OLI in its campaign are the AAR, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Federal Transit Administration.
"In the last two years, we have experienced record-breaking safety performance along with dramatic reductions over the last decade in the number of accidents and incidents in almost every category measured, with the noted exceptions of highway-rail grade crossings and trespassing incidents," FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo said in a prepared statement.Preliminary FRA data show 908 pedestrians were injured or killed while walking on or near tracks in 2013, up 7.7 percent from 843 in 2012. Additionally, 1,193 people were injured or killed at grade crossings, up 1.5 percent from 1,175 in 2012."People tempt fate every day around railroad tracks, whether they are racing to beat the train at a grade crossing or walking across the tracks to save time," said AAR President and CEO Edward Hamberger in a press release. "We hope to raise public awareness that if you see railroad tracks, you should always think a train is coming and that attempting to beat a train is a losing proposition."Railway Supply Institute (RSI) officials yesterday voiced their support for the OLI campaign."Our member companies, who produce equipment for and provide services to freight, passenger, commuter and light-rail operations, know first-hand the importance of reminding drivers and pedestrians to always use caution around tracks and trains," said RSI President Tom Simpson in a prepared statement.