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Operation Lifesaver's Social Graphics for Photographers - PPA Today

Operation Lifesaver's Social Graphics for Photographers

Recently, you may have read an article in the Washington Post, an op-ed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about an alarming photography trend - people taking selfies, professional portraits and videos on train tracks and trestles. Since 2011, 13 people have been killed and four injured while taking photos or videos on the tracks. Pedestrian rail trespassing is the leading cause of rail-related deaths each year; 483 were killed in 2014 in the U.S. and more than 2,100 died on the tracks in the last four years, according to preliminary government statistics.

Operation Lifesaver has been working to discourage this photography practice for years, via outreach to the news media, letter-writing campaigns and direct outreach to photographers, and co-hosting regular webinars with Professional Photographers of America raise the awareness and level of education on railroad photography dos and don'ts. Railroads have been active on this issue as well; for example, Union Pacific Railroad has created public service messages explaining why train tracks are the wrong place for senior photos.

Last week, Operation Lifesaver and PPA partnered on a free webinar for photographers, "Safety First: Photography Near Tracks and Trains". The recording of the webinar will be a free resource for all photographers.

Operation Lifesaver is working on some cool animated public service announcements aimed at professional photographers and selfie-takers, slated for release next month. Stay tuned for those... they can be useful to share with clients too!

And of course, there's the ongoing See Tracks? Think Train! public awareness campaign, developed with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the railroad industry. It offers information and resources to raise awareness about safety near tracks and trains.

How can you help stop this dangerous trend?

First, talk with your friends and family about why photographing on train tracks is a seriously bad idea:
  • Freight trains don't run on a schedule - always expect a train on any track, in either direction, at any time. 
  • Because of their size and weight, trains can't stop quickly to avoid a person or object on the tracks. 
  • Freight and passenger trains are faster and quieter than you think, and they overhang the tracks by at least three feet on both sides.
  • Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and equipment are private property. Not only is it illegal to trespass, but the offenders are subject to arrest and fine.

Second, share these graphics on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and other social media channels.

Use the hashtags #NoPhotosOnTrainTracks and #SeeTracksThinkTrain.

Thank you for helping stop these preventable tragedies. Together, we can save lives.


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) published on October 27, 2015 3:02 PM.

PPA to Host a Briefing on Capitol Hill was the previous entry in this blog.

Take the Next Step and Become a Certified Professional Photographer is the next entry in this blog.

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