Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI), Operation Lifesaver Canada and the Mexican Association of Railroads (AMF) are kicking off this year’s observance of Rail Safety Week in North America on Sept. 20.
From Sept. 20-26, the groups will boost public awareness of rail safety, encouraging drivers and pedestrians to practice safe behavior near railroad tracks.
This year in the U.S., Rail Safety Week will be hybrid, with state OLI program-led in-person events as well as virtual activities and social media efforts that will share lifesaving messages. OLI will be releasing new video and audio public service announcements during the week.
“Federal statistics show that about every three hours in the United States, a person or vehicle is hit by a train,” OLI reports. “2,100 North Americans are injured or killed each year in these preventable incidents.”
Each day of Rail Safety Week in the U.S. will emphasize a different theme, according to OLI. They are:
• Monday, Sept. 20: #STOPTrackTragedies. The focus will be on media outreach and Rail Safety Week proclamations in states and localities.
• Tuesday, Sept. 21: Operation Clear Track. Emphasizing the importance of obeying crossing safety and anti-trespass laws, law enforcement partners will conduct awareness exercises, “Officer on the Train” activities, and other in-person positive enforcement events; first responders will share Rail Safety Week messages virtually through social media, email and website posts.
• Wednesday, Sept. 22: Crossing Safety. The focus will be on outreach to the general public, farmers and farm machine operators, and outdoor enthusiasts. Highlighted: safe crossing techniques, with special attention to the Blue and White Emergency Notification System (ENS) signs at crossings.
• Thursday, Sept. 23: Transit Safety Thursday and Professional Driver Safety. Showcased: How to stay safe as a rider as well as safe choices around railroad tracks and trains for professional drivers.
• Friday, Sept. 24: Wearing Red or “Red Out” for Rail Safety. Safety organizations, partners, schools, railroads and the general public are encouraged to wear red at public events and to share photos on social media.
• Saturday, Sept. 25: Trespass Prevention. Pedestrians, cyclists, joggers and outdoor enthusiasts will be educated about the dangers of being on or near railroad tracks.
• Sunday, Sept. 26: No Photo, Video or Selfie is Worth the Risk. Professional and amateur photographers will be warned against the dangers of illegally taking photos or videos, or filming near tracks and trains.
Launched in 2017, this annual weeklong event is a collaborative effort among OLI; state OLI programs; and rail safety partners across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Rail Safety Week is spearheaded by OLI, Operation Lifesaver Canada and AMF.