California Operation Lifesaver urges pedestrians to stay safe, stay away from train tracks

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Recent tragedy underscores the dangers of walking or photographing on tracks . . .

California Operation Lifesaver urges pedestrians to stay safe, stay away from train tracks                    

LOS ANGELES, Calif., January 20, 2015 – In the wake of a fatal train incident in Burbank, a nonprofit rail safety education organization is warning Californians that rail safety is something everyone should take seriously. California Operation Lifesaver urges the public to know that pedestrians who choose to walk, play or photograph around railroad tracks are trespassing on private property and could be fined, seriously injured or killed.

“California ranks number one in pedestrian-train incidents and fatalities. Walking on the tracks or using train tracks as a backdrop for photos or videos without permission is not only dangerous, it is illegal trespassing,” stated Nancy Sheehan, California Operation Lifesaver State Coordinator.

In 2013, according to preliminary Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) statistics, there were 119 trespass incidents in California, including 68 fatalities. The preliminary FRA statistics through October 2014 indicate that trespass fatalities in the state have risen to 82; the highest number of fatalities occurred in LA County.

“As a part of Operation Lifesaver’s mission to reduce deaths and injuries around trains, we urge the public to remember: See Tracks? Think Train!” said Sheehan.

Sheehan noted that people often think they will hear a train coming or that they will have time to get off the tracks; however, an optical illusion means a train you see is closer and moving faster than it appears.

Operation Lifesaver provides these important Pedestrian Rail Safety Tips:

  • The only safe and legal place to cross tracks is at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings.
  • Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and equipment are private property and trespassers are subject to arrest and fine.
  • It can take a mile or more to stop a train, so a locomotive engineer who suddenly sees someone on the tracks will unlikely be able to stop in time.
  • Be aware trains do not follow set schedules. Any Time is Train Time!

To see more pedestrian rail safety tips: http://oli.org/education-resources/pedestrian-safety

About Operation Lifesaver – Operation Lifesaver’s mission is to end collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and along railroad rights of way. A national network of trained volunteers provides free presentations on rail safety. For more information or to request a free safety presentation, visit: www.seetracksthinktrain.org; www.caol.us or www.oli.org .

Nancy Sheehan-McCulloch –                                                                   State Coordinator – California Operation Lifesaver                     nsheehan.caol@sbcglobal.net                                                                                                              530-832-0683

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