Thursday, June 15, 2017

Amtrak gears up for summer with public safety campaign

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As the summer season gets underway, Amtrak is raising awareness about safety in an effort to reduce injuries and fatalities resulting from unsafe behavior by motorists and pedestrians on railroad crossings and tracks.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), vehicle-train collisions at highway-rail grade crossings fell 2.4 percent in 2016. Amtrak cites the FRA data shows that the number of people killed in these incidents rose 13.7 percent last year, and deaths due to train track trespassing increased 12.8 percent. Total trespass-related casualties increased 14.5 percent from 2015 levels.

Amtrak is one of several partners with Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI). OLI has programs in 46 states, and trained volunteers who provide free safety presentations to community groups, school bus operators, truckers and student drivers to raise awareness of the dangers around railroad tracks and trains. OLI uses materials from their national public awareness campaign, "See Tracks? Think Train!" to connect with the public through digital ads and at events.

Amtrak Police Department Deputy Chief Martin Conway serves on OLI's board of directors.

"The safety of customers, employees and the public is Amtrak's top priority," Conway said. "Education and outreach are critical in helping the public understand the importance of railroad safety."