Hoosiers urged to help #STOPTrackTragedies during Rail Safety Week

State officials are urging Hoosiers to help “#STOPTrackTragedies” during U.S. and Indiana Rail Safety Week.

Every year, 2,100 North Americans are killed or seriously injured when they engage in unsafe behavior around tracks and trains. This Rail Safety Week, Indiana Operation Lifesaver is joining forces with Operation Lifesaver Inc., Operation Lifesaver Canada and the Mexican Association of Railroads from Sept. 18-24 to observe the safety week and urge he public to help #STOPTrackTragedies, according to an Indiana Operation Lifesaver news release.

Indiana Operation Lifesaver is a nonprofit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and preventing trespassing on or near railroad tracks.

Statewide, Indiana average approximately 120 railroad crossing collisions with multiple injuries and deaths each year. Rail-related trespasser injuries and fatalities are also on the rise throughout the state, according to the news release.

As part of Rail Safety week, new video and audio public service announcements as well as social media campaigns are being released. An ongoing campaign called #STOPTrackTragedies features videos with the personal stories of people directly affected by rail crossing or trespassing incidents — including victims, friends and family members, locomotive engineers and first responders, the news release says.

The full campaign can be viewed at oli.org/stop-track-tragedies.

In Indiana and across the U.S., along with the PSAs and a social media campaign, officials plan to emphasize themes for each day of the week:

  • Monday, Sept. 18 — The overarching theme of #STOPTrackTragedies and a focus on media outreach and Rail Safety Week proclamations.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 19 — Annual observance of Operation Clear Track in the U.S. and Canada: 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 RSW messages virtually through social media, email messaging and website posts.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 20 — Crossing Safety: Encouraging outreach to the public, farmers and farm machine operators as well as outdoor enthusiasts on safe crossing techniques with special attention to the Blue and White Emergency Notification System signs at crossings.
  • Thursday, Sept. 21 — Transit Safety Thursday and Professional Driver Safety: Showcasing how to stay safe as a rail commuter or transit rider as well as safe choices around railroad tracks and trains for professional drivers.
  • Friday, Sept. 22 — Wear Red or “Red Out” for Rail Safety: Encouraging safety organizations, partners, schools, railroads and the public to wear red at public events and to share photos on social media.
  • Saturday, Sept. 23 — Trespass Prevention: Educating pedestrians, cyclists, joggers and outdoor enthusiasts about the dangers posed by being on or near the tracks.
  • Sunday, Sept. 24 — No Photo, Video or Selfie is Worth the Risk: Warning professional and amateur photographers against putting themselves or others in danger by illegally taking photos, videos or filming near tracks and trains.