Wednesday, August 01, 2012

UP campaign urges Austin residents to stop for trains

Stop for trains because they cannot stop for you. It is a message Union Pacific and Operation Lifesaver are rolling out as part of a bilingual awareness campaign aimed at promoting safety around railroad tracks in Austin, Texas.

It can take more than a mile for a train to come to a complete stop and the campaign, I Brake for Trains, emphasizes the importance of using caution near railroad tracks. Austin residents will see and hear messages such as "use your brain around trains" on billboards, radio and internet advertisements.

"Trains cannot stop quickly, but pedestrians and drivers can. We want people to know they can prevent accidents by paying attention and not crossing the tracks if trains are approaching," said Mike Brazytis, Union Pacific superintendent. "The I Brake for Trains campaign will reach millions of people who will hopefully remember these safety messages the next time they cross the tracks."

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, 31 pedestrians died in rail-related accidents in Texas last year, while 16 people lost their lives in train-vehicle crossing collisions. Commercials airing on local radio stations will make listeners more aware and are designed to change risky pedestrian and driver behavior. The ibrakefortrains.com website and online advertisements will provide more detailed rail safety tips including:

• Always expect a train and look both ways before crossing railroad tracks.

• Cross railroad tracks only at public crossings, designated by railroad signs, lights or gates.

• Avoid texting, talking on cell phones and listening to music on headphones with devices such as MP3 players and iPods when approaching train tracks.

• Wait for trains and do not attempt to beat approaching trains.

• If you are driving, always ensure there is enough room for your vehicle to completely clear the tracks.

"People have the power to stop rail-related incidents by simply paying attention and following the law," said Sally Tingle, Operation Lifesaver state coordinator. "The information shared through the I Brake for Trains commercials can help save lives by eliminating or reducing these preventable collisions."

Union Pacific employees will distribute rail safety information, t-shirts and other promotional items at Operation Lifesaver booths set up at local concerts and festivals this summer. More information is available at www.ibrakefortrains.com.

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