Report Tracks Success of Rail Safety Week Outreach

new report from rail safety education nonprofit Operation Lifesaver Inc. or OLI tracks outreach efforts conducted during this year’s Rail Safety Week campaign – held September 18-24, 2023.

[Above photo by PennDOT]

Rail Safety Week is observed throughout North America annually – spearheaded by OLI, Operation Lifesaver Canada, and the Mexican Association of Railroads.

Image via OLI

OLI’s report indicated that OLI state programs, federal government, and safety partners across the U.S. generated 8.8 million social media impressions and over 4,100 news stories during the 2023 Rail Safety Week campaign.

Additionally, digital national and state campaigns on social media channels and via streaming devices – made possible through grant funding from the Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration – resulted in 15.1 million impressions throughout the U.S.

“A growing group of partners shared OLI materials and videos in support of Rail Safety Week, elevating the message and raising awareness,” noted Rachel Maleh, OLI’s executive director, in a statement. She added that the 2024 Rail Safety Campaign will take place September 23-29.

“We are incredibly grateful to all who shared the rail safety message during Rail Safety Week this year via social media and events – from state and local officials sharing Rail Safety Week proclamations, to law enforcement and first responder agencies participating in Operation Clear Track on September 19 to everyone wearing red showing support on ‘Red Out For Rail Safety Day’ on September 23,” Maleh said.

According to OLI, every year, 2,100 North Americans are killed or seriously injured when they engage in unsafe behavior around tracks and trains. In the U.S. alone, a person or vehicle is hit by a train every three hours, the group said.

State departments of transportation from Connecticut to Colorado, as well as in IllinoisNebraska, and Florida conducted or participated in a variety of rail safety events during the 2023 campaign

Concurrently, the North Carolina Department of Transportation conducted a “tabletop exercise” during the 2023 Rail Safety Week push involving other state and federal agencies, plus private industry partners, at the State Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh on how to respond to train derailments. 

During that mock exercise, those officials worked together to ensure a strong response in the event of a derailment by sharing information and evaluating existing plans. Participants were required to assess their preparedness and coordinate their agency’s respective responsibilities for managing and recovering from this kind of emergency.

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