SCC to Recognize Rail Safety Week Digitally

Utilities

SEP 21, 2020

RICHMOND – Rail Safety Week – the annual, nationwide campaign to raise awareness of the need for rail safety education – will appear differently this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The State Corporation Commission (SCC) and others will observe the entire week (September 21-27) digitally.

SCC Rail Safety Manager Renee Salmon and VA Operation Lifesaver Coordinator Tracey Lamb agree that the goal is the same: to address head-on the need for rail safety awareness to combat the statistic that either a person or vehicle is hit by a train every three hours in the U.S., as reported by Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI).

Although in-person events will not be possible this year, the SCC plans to share potentially life-saving information on its website and social media pages. OLI has assigned each day of Rail Safety Week its own safety theme:

  • Monday – Proclamations, Media Outreach;
  • Tuesday – Law Enforcement Partnerships;
  • Wednesday – Crossing Safety, Professional Drivers;
  • Thursday – Commuter and Transit Safety;
  • Friday – Wear Red for Rail Safety;
  • Saturday – Trespass Prevention;
  • Sunday – Photographer Safety.

“Rail safety is much more than just a single tip or slogan,” said Salmon. “It’s a set of guidelines for different groups of people, including children, first responders, media professionals, photographers, personal and professional drivers, and more.”

OLI is encouraged by a 76% decrease in nationwide collisions at U.S. highway-rail grade crossings over the past 40 years. “But there’s still more rail safety awareness work to do,” said Lamb.

This year’s digital focus is perhaps most appropriate for photographer safety, the seventh and final day of Rail Safety Week. Photo shoots and ‘selfies’ on train tracks may be tempting for posting on social media, but both activities are dangerous and illegal.

Both Lamb and Salmon acknowledge the same rail safety awareness statistic: “Trains can take a mile or more to come to a complete stop and overhang the track by at least three feet. Please never put yourself – or your clients – in harm’s way, and remember that people mimic your behavior when they see your photos on the web,” Lamb said.

Virginia Operation Lifesaver is administered by the SCC’s division of Utility and Railroad Safety, which offers education sessions virtually and can be reached at Virginia@oli.org. Keep an eye out for the SCC’s digital messaging during Rail Safety Week. In the meantime, check out the SCC’s full list of resources at scc.virginia.gov/pages/Railroad-Regulation.
 

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Contact: Ford Carson, 804-371-9141