Metrolink launched a bilingual public safety campaign Monday to help pedestrians and motorists stay safe from moving trains around tracks and crossings.
“It is our top priority to keep people safe on our trains and near our railroad tracks,” said Metrolink Board Chair and Glendale City Councilmember Ara Najarian. “Metrolink has engineered the best possible safety measures at our railroad crossings, and law enforcement works hard to prevent life-threatening situations. We’ve found, however, that most incidents regarding trains can be avoided if pedestrians and motorists remain aware at all times.”
A 2018 Federal Railroad Administration study found that from November 2013 to October 2017, L.A. County had the most railroad trespasser fatalities in the U.S., with San Bernardino County ranking third and Riverside County ranking seventh. In an effort to keep people safe, Metrolink’s public safety campaign features videos that demonstrate the tragic results of unsafe behaviors around its 538 miles of railroad tracks, including:
— a scenario in which a driver approaches a rail crossing and is distracted by her young child in the vehicle’s backseat;
— a scenario in which a young skateboarder with headphones on uses the railroad tracks as a short cut; and
— a scenario in which a jogger loses situational awareness at a railroad crossing.
The videos seek to show how activities that occur every day around the tracks can lead to tragedies. According to Metrolink’s interim chief of safety, security and compliance, Darrell Fizer, the campaign focuses on engineering, education and enforcement.
“Our campaign stresses the importance of the ‘Three Es’: engineering to develop new ways to keep grade crossings safe, education that leads to safe behaviors, and enforcement of laws by direct action to stop unsafe actions where streets and railroads meet,” Fizer said.
Metrolink also hopes to bring awareness about the dangers of homeless encampments near railroads, as well as the risk of people in despair seeing that a way to kill themselves.
Metrolink partnered with Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services by displaying its 24-hour crisis hotline number on electronic message boards at train platforms in an effort to provide resources to people who may use the tracks for suicide.
“The past year’s unprecedented suffering, stress, and untreated mental health needs can each lead people to consider ending their own lives,” said Didi Hirsch Mental Health CEO Jonathan Goldfinger. “Our 24/7 crisis lines in English and Spanish have prevented an untold number of suicides. We’re proud to partner with Metrolink so everyone who feels hopeless or suicidal, or knows someone who does, can call without hesitation.”
Videos can be accessed on Metrolink’s social media channels and through the hashtag #StaySafe.
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