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Today marks the start of Rail Safety Week in North America. Public awareness activities highlighting the importance of safety around railroad property are being led by Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI) in the United States and its partners Operation Lifesaver Canada and the Mexican Association of Railroads (AMF).
In the United States, each day through Sept. 27 will emphasize a different theme. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year Rail Safety Week will emphasize virtual activities and social media to share lifesaving messages, OLI officials said in a press release.
About 2,100 North Americans are injured or killed each year in preventable rail accidents. In the United States, federal statistics show that about every three hours a person or vehicle is hit by a train, OLI officials said.
"Rail Safety Week raises awareness of the need for caution near railroad crossings and train tracks," said OLI Executive Director Rachel Maleh.
Themes to be highlighted in the United States during the week are as follows: • Today Rail Safety Week proclamations will be made in states and local communities;• Tuesday, Sept. 22, will focus on law enforcement and first responder partnerships in observance of Operation Clear Track, which emphasizes crossing safety and anti-trespass laws;• Wednesday, Sept. 23, will highlight crossing safety, which will include outreach to professional drivers on safe crossing techniques;• Thursday, Sept. 24, will showcase who to stay safe as a commuter-rail or transit rider;• Friday, Sept. 25, will focus on wearing red for "Red Out for Rail Safety" to show support for safety near tracks and trains;• Saturday, Sept. 26, will highlight trespass prevention, educating pedestrians about the dangers of being on or near railroad tracks; and• Sunday, Sept. 27, will be promote the "No Photos on Tracks" message for professional and amateur photographers, which underscores the risks of illegally taking photos, videos or film on tracks.