Lets take a moment to reflect on SPRINT from its birth in the Railroad Business and a Reminder for Railroad Safety for Rail Safety Week.
Americans and Canadians will observe Rail Safety Week together again this fall. Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI) and Operation Lifesaver Canada are working to plan the observance of Rail Safety Week in North America the fourth week in September. In the U.S., Rail Safety week is Sept. 22-28; in Canada, it is Sept. 23-29. The week-long event encourages safe behavior near railroad tracks. Every year 2,100 North Americans are killed, or seriously injured, because of unsafe behavior around tracks and trains. Operation Lifesaver – which operates in the U.S. and Canada – works to prevent these incidents. “Our goal is to get to zero incidents – zero fatalities and zero injuries. The driving force for this organization is saving lives,” says Operation Lifesaver, Inc. Executive Director Rachel Maleh. “Our 2019 Rail Safety Week efforts will be led by our State Coordinators across the U.S., with daily events to highlight crossing safety and rail trespass prevention in high-incident areas,” Maleh says. “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. With the help of our state programs and safety partners, these lifesaving messages will reach millions of people.” Maleh also notes that a report detailing results of the U.S. 2018 Rail Safety Week efforts is now available. 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 U.S. and Canada. The campaign featured seven videos, each telling the personal stories of people affected by rail crossing or trespassing incidents – including victims, friends and family members, locomotive engineers, and first responders. Sarah Mayes, National Director of Operation Lifesaver Canada, says OL Canada and OLI plan to expand the highly successful campaign by producing new videos this year. “By showcasing the stories of people impacted by rail crossing and trespass incidents, we hope to save more lives in 2019. While these stories may be heartbreaking, they’re driving people to change their behavior so that they’re safer around tracks and trains,” says Mayes. Another focal point of the Rail Safety Week observance is a unique effort known as Operation Clear Track. Led by Amtrak® Police, Operation Clear Track is the largest single railroad safety law enforcement operation in the United States. It involves more than 500 police and sheriff’s departments across the lower 48 states. Operation Clear Track will expand into Canada this year. During Operation Clear Track, police visit hundreds of railroad crossings at high incident locations. Once, the law enforcement officials enforce grade crossing and trespassing laws. They write citations and issue warnings to violators. They also distribute cards with railroad safety tips to the public. Amtrak Police Chief Neil Trugman says, “We know that Operation Clear Track is raising awareness of rail safety in communities big and small. Our law enforcement partners play a key role in reminding citizens to be cautious near crossings, and not to trespass along the tracks. It’s a critical component of Rail Safety Week and helps build relationships between law enforcement officers and the public.” More information about Rail Safety Week 2019 is available on the Operation Lifesaver, Inc. website. To find out about local Rail Safety Week efforts, contact your Operation Lifesaver State Coordinator. To watch the powerful videos from Rail Safety Week 2018 please visit stoptracktragedies.org or stoptracktragedies.ca.