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Rail News: Safety

Operation Lifesaver sets Rail Safety Week dates for U.S., Canada


Rail Safety Week will be observed Sept. 22-29 in the United States and Canada, Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI) and Operation Lifesaver Canada jointly announced yesterday.

The week-long event is organized to encourage safe behavior near railroad tracks.

"Our goal is to get to zero incidents — zero fatalities and zero injuries. The driving force for this organization is saving lives," said OLI Executive Director Rachel Maleh in a press release.

Each year, 2,100 North Americans are killed or seriously injured because of unsafe behavior around tracks and trains, according to the organizations.

"We're coordinating with Operation Lifesaver Canada to make sure we reach as many North Americans as possible through grassroots events, social media, news media outreach and paid marketing efforts," Maleh said. "With the help of our state programs and safety partners, these lifesaving messages will reach millions of people."

Last year's joint media campaign, #STOPTrackTragedies, generated nearly 3.7 million YouTube views and 18 million impressions on social and traditional media in the United States and Canada. The campaign featured videos telling the personal stories of people affected by grade crossing or trespassing incidents.

The organizations plan to expand the campaign by producing new videos this year, said Sarah Mayes, national director of Operation Lifesaver Canada.

"By showcasing the stories of people impacted by rail crossing and trespass incidents, we hope to save more lives in 2019," Mayes said.

Also during the week, Amtrak police will work with more than 500 police and sheriff's departments across the lower 48 states on Operation Clear Track, in which law enforcement officers will write citations and issue warnings to crossing violators. The officers also distribute cards with railroad safety tips to the public.

Operation Clear Track was held during last year's Rail Safety Week, which was the first time the United States and Canada Operation Lifesaver organizations coordinated their rail-safety observance weeks. This year, Operation Clear Track will expand to Canada.