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Operation Lifesaver responds to fatalities related to photo-taking on rail tracks


Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI) yesterday released a new video to raise awareness among professional photographers of the dangers of taking pictures on railroad tracks.

The video is the first in a new series drawing attention to the risks involved with train track photos, OLI officials said in a press release.

To date this year, five deaths have been attributed to photography and filming on U.S. railroad tracks, with 13 deaths and four injuries resulting from these activities since 2011, according to OLI President and Chief Executive Officer Joyce Rose.

Preliminary 2014 FRA statistics cite an increase of 4.4 percent in overall trespass casualties and a 13 percent uptick in trespass deaths, although trespasses injuries fell 3.9 percent. Early indications are that trespass incidents continue to rise in 2015, OLI officials said.

"Our outreach to the photography community is an urgent step in curbing these incidents, but we want to reach everyone with a smart phone or a camera," said Rose.

Funded by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), OLI's new video offers a humorous look at scenarios that put professional photographers and their clients at risk.

OLI is making the video available on its website, via social media, and on the site for its ongoing "SeeTracks? Think Train!" safety campaign.

Additionally, Professional Photographers of America will make the video available to its members. In October, OLI partnered with the photographers' association on a webinar about taking photos near train tracks.

"Capturing what are supposed to be joyful moments and happy life events are too often becoming painful, heartbreaking tales for families and communities," said Jamie Rennert, who leads the FRA's highway-rail grade crossing safety task force. "No photo is worth the risk. Trespassing is always illegal and often fatal."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/2/2015