Contact: Maryland Department of Transportation Office of Public Affairs
David Broughton, 410-865-1029
Jim Joyner, 410-865-1030 

​Awareness Campaign Seeks to Reduce Rail-Related Fatalities and Injuries 

HANOVER, MD (September 12, 2023) – In Maryland, an average of 23 people are killed or seriously injured each year in grade crossing and trespassing incidents along the state's railway network. Across all of North America, the annual number is a staggering 2,100 people hurt or killed. This month, the Maryland Department of Transportation and Maryland Operation Lifesaver are joining with Operation Lifesaver Inc., Operation Lifesaver Canada and the Mexican Association of Railroads to observe Rail Safety Week in North America, September 18-24, and urge the public to help #STOPTrackTragedies

The Maryland Department of Transportation and Maryland Operation Lifesaver are committed to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries that occur around tracks and trains and prevent these needless incidents from happening. During Rail Safety Week, Maryland and its partners are promoting railway safety and awareness through video and audio public service announcements and social media campaigns. 

The #STOPTrackTragedies campaign features videos highlighting personal stories of people directly affected by rail crossing or trespassing incidents, including victims, friends and family members, locomotive engineers and first responders. The campaign can be viewed HERE

Each day of Rail Safety Week, Maryland and states across the nation will share social media messages emphasizing a different theme promoting the overall safety message:

  • Monday, September 18 – the campaign launches with the #STOPTrackTragedies theme and a focus on media outreach and Rail Safety Pledges in states and localities. The pledge, available at the Operation Lifesaver Inc. website, highlights railroad rules and safe behaviors, and asks children and young adults to pledge not to violate those practices.
  • Tuesday, September 19 – supporters are urged to wear red as part of the “Red Out for Rail Safety" initiative. In the U.S. and Canada, the campaign will note the annual observance of Operation Clear Track, which emphasizes the importance of obeying crossing safety and anti-trespass laws.
  • Wednesday, September 20 – highlights Crossing Safety, with a focus on new and mature drivers, shift workers, school bus drivers, farmers and outdoor enthusiasts. The message will highlight Blue and White Emergency Notification System signs at crossings.
  • Thursday, September 21 – the theme will focus on Transit Safety Thursday and Professional Driver Safety, showcasing how to stay safe as a rail commuter or transit rider, as well as safe choices around railroad tracks and trains for professional drivers.
  • Friday, September 22 – promotes Volunteering for Operation Lifesaver by asking people to share their “Red Out for Rail Safety" photos on social media to encourage partner organizations, schools, railroad employees and the public to spread the rail safety message.
  • Saturday, September 23 – highlights Trespass Prevention, educating pedestrians, cyclists, joggers, college students, people experiencing homelessness and outdoor enthusiasts about the dangers of being on or near railroad tracks.
  • Sunday, September 24 – the campaign closes with the message that “No Photo, Video or Selfie is Worth the Risk," warning professional and amateur photographers and social media influencers against putting themselves or others in danger by illegally taking photos, videos, or filming near tracks and trains. 

Maryland Department of Transportation agencies will help amplify the campaign's social media elements, and other organizations and agencies across state are invited to share these messages with their members and followers. 

All Maryland citizens encounter railroad tracks and trains in their travels, even if there are no tracks directly in their community. With 140,000 miles of track and 212,000 railroad crossings throughout the United States, it's important that everyone knows how to stay safe around tracks and trains, and always obeys rules around railroad facilities. 

Learn more about Operation Lifesaver Inc. and Rail Safety Week HERE. For more information, contact Stacey Beckett at sbeckett2@mdot.maryland.gov.