With Florida ranking third in the country for most deadly railway incidents, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is joining agencies across North America for “Operation Clear Track.” The rail-safety initiative is coordinated by Amtrak, Operation Life Saver Inc., and Operation Lifesaver Canada in an effort to prevent further tragedies.
For this year’s Rail Safety Week, which runs from September 21-27, 2020, the campaign will be virtual, with all participating agencies sharing the do’s and don’t’s of rail-safety on social media platforms through #STOPTrackTragedies. In 2019, the Federal Railroad Administration reported 25 people died in Florida in vehicle-train collisions. Nationwide, a total of 293 people lost their lives.
“Don’t take risks, and clear the way for trains, it’s simple and life-saving advice,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “We can avoid devastating accidents by reminding ourselves, family, and friends, that trains are heavy and just about unstoppable once in motion. Use caution when approaching railroad tracks and obey signals and warnings to ensure a safe and smooth encounter.”
In a Public Service Announcement provided below, Sheriff Chad Chronister goes over basic safety rules everyone should keep in mind at railroad crossings:
1. Never walk on railroad tracks. All train tracks are private property, making it not only highly dangerous to walk on them, but also illegal.
2. Only cross at designated railroad pedestrian and traffic crossings. Obey all posted warnings and signals.
3. Never stop on the tracks. It takes the average freight train traveling at 55 mph, more than a mile (the length of 18 football fields), to come to a complete stop. This makes the weight ratio of a car to a train proportional to a car running over a soda can.
For more information, please visit www.oli.organd follow along the week-long international social media campaign #STOPTrackTragedies.