FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: MDOT Public Affairs
David Broughton, 410-865-1029
Jennifer DeAngelis, Operation Lifesaver Inc.
HANOVER, MD (September 19, 2022) – Maryland is joining jurisdictions across the country and throughout North America in promoting safety at rail crossings during Rail Safety Week, September 19-25. Through a safety and awareness campaign, Maryland Operation Lifesaver is joining Operation Lifesaver Inc., Operation Lifesaver Canada and the Mexican Association of Railroads in urging the public to help #STOPTrackTragedies.
In Maryland each year, on average 23 people are killed or injured in grade crossing and trespassing incidents, according to data from the Federal Railroad Administration. Throughout North America, 2,100 people are killed or seriously injured annually. Operation Lifesaver works to prevent these incidents from happening.
As part of Rail Safety week, video and audio public service announcements and social media posts will promote a message of safety and awareness. A campaign through Operation Lifesaver called #STOPTrackTragedies features videos with victims, friends and family members, locomotive engineers and first responders. The campaign can be viewed at oli.org/stop-track-tragedies or stoptracktragedies.ca. The campaign focuses on the following themes:
- Tuesday, September 20, focuses on the annual observance of Operation Clear Track in the U.S. and Canada emphasizing the importance of obeying crossing safety and anti-trespass laws.
- Wednesday, September 21, highlights Crossing Safety, with outreach and guidance for new and mature drivers, shift workers, school bus drivers, farmers and outdoor enthusiasts.
- Thursday, September 22, Transit Safety Thursday, showcases how to stay safe as a rail commuter or transit rider.
- Friday, September 23, focuses on Volunteering for Operation Lifesaver along with Wearing Red or “Red Out" for Rail Safety by encouraging safety organizations, partners, schools, railroads and the public to wear red at public events and share photos on social media.
- Saturday, September 24, highlights Trespass Prevention, educating pedestrians, cyclists, joggers, college students, people experiencing homelessness and outdoor enthusiasts about the dangers of being on or near the tracks.
- Sunday, September 25, promotes No Photo, Video or Selfie is Worth the Risk, to warn professional and amateur photographers and social media influencers against putting themselves or others in danger by illegally taking photos, videos or filming near tracks and trains.
During the week the Maryland Department of Transportation will share social media messages on its twitter.com/mdotnews and facebook.com/MDOTNews/ platforms.
“Rail Safety Week concentrates the public awareness and education campaigns that occur all year long across the country into one jam-packed week," said Rachel Maleh, Executive Director of Operation Lifesaver Inc. “This annual event brings together Operation Lifesaver state programs, North American safety partners and our partners at the U.S. Department of Transportation along with the many other organizations who share the rail safety message – this week, and all year round."
About Operation Lifesaver Inc.
Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI), which this year celebrates the 50th anniversary of its founding in 1972, is a public safety education and awareness nonprofit dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and preventing trespassing on or near railroad tracks. OLI programs are active in 47 states and the District of Columbia. A national network of trained volunteers gives free rail safety presentations encouraging safe behavior near tracks and trains. OLI's free Railroad Investigation and Safety Course provides critical information for first responders when managing incidents around tracks and trains. Learn more about OLI and Rail Safety Week; follow OLI on social media via Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.