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We know you crave creative backdrops to elevate your photography and sometimes clients can be extremely demanding, but utilizing tracks to set the scene is not only dangerous, it is illegal trespassing, and there's no PPA Member Benefit to get you out of that mess! From equipment insurance to protect your stuff to indemnification trust to protect against an unhappy client-- not even the best coverage in the world can protect you against the wide range of pitfalls that shooting on railroad tracks can bring. As dozens of news outlets have picked up, Operation Lifesaver Inc., wants to remind you to avoid utilizing rails during on-location shoot.

According to Operation Lifesaver, "Last year, more than 800 people were injured or killed while trespassing on railroad property in the U.S."

"This spring, as part of our mission to reduce deaths and injuries around trains, we are asking professional and amateur photographers to set the right example by staying away from train tracks," said Joyce Rose, President and CEO, Operation Lifesaver, Inc. Rose noted that about every three hours in the U.S., a person or vehicle is hit by a train.

Operation Lifesaver jumped into action after late 2012 when a teacher who taught art and photography was struck and killed by a train while taking photos on tracks. In response to tragic and preventable incidents like this, Operation Lifesaver has teamed up with PPA to promote rail safety education to the photography community.

David Trust, chief executive officer of PPA understands historically, rails have been top-of-mind settings for on-location shoots, but the cons outweigh the pros. "Trackside settings have become popular for senior, wedding, and family portraits. But photographers need to know the laws and the safety ramifications of staging a photo shoot near train tracks. PPA applauds Operation Lifesaver programs that educate photographers about the danger to themselves and their clients of working near tracks."


So, what are the must-know facts about rails for photographers? *

  1. Trains can't stop quickly enough to avoid people or vehicles on the tracks.
  2. An optical illusion makes it hard to determine a train's distance from you--and its speed.
  3. The average train overhangs the track by at least three feet.
  4. Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and rights-of-way are private property.
  5. No tracks should be assumed to be abandoned or inactive.
  6. People in your community mimic your behavior.

Be a leader in responsible photography for your community! If you hear of another photographer trespassing on the rails, remind them it's not only illegal, but puts them, their equipment and their clients in danger. If you have any questions concerning the legalities of shooting on railroad tracks, contact csc@ppa.com today.

* According to Operation Lifesaver, Inc.
Operation Lifesaver Inc is a national network of trained volunteers provides free presentations on rail safety. If you're interested in more information on how they have made it their mission to end collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and along railroad rights of way, visit their website at www.oli.org


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