Metra is joining an international effort to raise awareness and stress the importance of safe behavior near railroad tracks, as the United States, Canada and Mexico observe Rail Safety Week in North America, Sept. 20-26.
“Metra’s top priority continues to be safety, and we see it as our responsibility to educate the public through our Safety Poster and Essay Contest and our participation with Operation Lifesaver,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “The goal is to reach the public, especially our children, about the importance of safety. Together, we can reduce and eliminate injuries and fatalities that occur at highway-rail grade crossings and along the railroad rights-of-way.”
In 2020 alone, 685 people were injured and 198 people lost their lives in collisions at railroad crossings in the United States, according to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). In Illinois in 2020, 24 people died when they were struck by trains while trespassing on railroad property, and 15 people died when they were struck by trains at a highway-rail grade crossing.
As part of this week-long campaign, Metra is opening its 15th Annual Safety Poster and Essay Contest to all K-12 students within the six-county region that we serve. Visit www.metracontest.com for contest details. The 2021-2022 contest theme will be announced on Monday, Sept. 20.
In addition, the Metra Police Department will release a new public service video on Metra’s YouTube channel reminding the public about the dangers when near the railroad tracks. Metra’s Safety Department staff will also perform safety blitzes at the downtown stations – Chicago Union Station, Ogilvie Transportation Center, LaSalle Street Station, Van Buren Street Station, and Millennium Station – to highlight the importance of rail safety with the public.
For more information on Rail Safety Week in North America, please visit: https://oli.org/.