CHICAGO – Recognizing National Rail Safety Week 2022, State Representative Brad Stephens (R-Rosemont) is encouraging 20th District residents to stay safe around railroads in the Chicagoland area.
“Rail Safety Week is a helpful and critical reminder to Americans that while railroads are a part of our communities, they also pose a hazard to people not taking precautions,” said Rep. Stephens. “Take some time to refresh your memory on proper driver and pedestrian behaviors around railroads to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Let’s work so we no longer have rail tragedies and truly save lives.”
Rail Safety Week began in 2017 with Operation Lifesaver Inc., the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations for raising awareness of how necessary rail safety education is. The themes of Rail Safety Week 2022 include: #STOPTrackTragedies, Crossing Safety, and No Photo/Video/Selfie is Worth the Risk.
According to Operation Lifesaver Inc., more than 2,100 people are killed or injured annually in trespassing and crossing incidents in North America. Every three hours in the U.S., a person or vehicle is hit by a train and in 2021, Illinois was the fourth highest state with rail collisions, totaling 125 collisions with 20 deaths.
Some track safety basics include always expecting a train at each highway-rail intersection at any time, never walking on train tracks, only crossing tracks at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings, and staying alert around railroad tracks. This includes refraining from texting, headphones, or other distractions that would prevent someone from hearing an approaching train—never mix rails and recreation.
“Chicago is a transit hub and the rail capital of our nation,” Rep. Stephens continued. “A lot of those tracks are integrated in our northwest side and suburb communities. On Friday, I will be wearing red to promote rail safety in our communities and spread awareness of this lifesaving subject.”
Additional information, including statistics, safety tips, and the background of Rail Safety Week can be found on Operation Lifesaver’s website at OLI.org.