Crockett High School Students Receive Lesson on Rail Safety
Austin, Texas, August 22, 2011 Union Pacific Railroad, Operation Lifesaver and the Austin Police Department will welcome students back to Crockett High School with an important message -- stop for trains. The organizations will deliver the message through education and enforcement of rail safety laws designed to keep pedestrians and drivers safe.
"Our students cross the railroad tracks everyday and need to hear the rail safety message early in the school year," said Craig Shapiro, Crockett High School principal. "This community approach will engage the students and encourage them to cross the railroad tracks at crossings that are marked with railroad signs or lights and gates."
Crockett High School cheerleaders will hand out footballs that read, "Always expect a train," at a pep rally on the first day of school, Monday, August 22. Union Pacific employees will be at the rally to remind students to use caution and avoid using cell phones and portable listening devices with earphones while they are near railroad tracks.
"Trains run 24/7, so it is important to look both ways and listen for trains before crossing the tracks," said Buck Russell, Union Pacific public safety manager and Operation Lifesaver volunteer. "We want students to remember to focus on their personal safety before approaching rail lines because distractions can decrease their ability to pay attention. It is the most important message we stress as part of our UP CARES program."
Police officers from the Austin Independent School District and Union Pacific will monitor pedestrian traffic on rail lines during the first week of school. They will remind students that the safest and only legal place to cross the railroad tracks is at designated crossings. Warnings will be provided the first two days, but officers will issue citations the rest of the week.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo will assist with the enforcement component by riding inside a Union Pacific locomotive and monitoring driver behavior at grade crossings located near Crockett High School. Eight police officers will shadow the train and issue citations to motorists who disregard railroad warnings.
"People sometimes put themselves in unsafe situations around the railroad crossings and tracks and too frequently suffer injuries or lose their lives," said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. "We are very pleased to be a part of an effort that will address these issues and help keep our community safe."
Operation Lifesaver will place rail safety posters in the halls of Crockett High School throughout the year to keep students on the right track. Schools are encouraged to contact Operation Lifesaver for more information at www.oli.org.
About Texas Operation Lifesaver
Texas Operation Lifesaver is a non-profit public safety organization committed to educating the public about safety at highway-rail grade crossings and trespassing on railroad property. Certified volunteer presenters will make free presentations to any group, including driver education classes, school bus drivers, law enforcement, emergency responders, professional drivers, civic organizations, schools and church groups. To request a presentation or inquire about volunteering opportunities, please contact Sally Tingle at (800) 362-2210 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is available at www.oli.org.
About UP CARES
Union Pacific Crossing, Accident, Reduction, Education and Safety (UP CARES) is Union Pacific's public safety program designed to elevate railroad safety awareness and improve driver and pedestrian behavior around railroad operations. UP CARES events create opportunities to interact one-on-one with a range of community stakeholders to communicate key safety messages and change unsafe behavior with the ultimate goal of zero incidents.
About Union Pacific
Union Pacific Corporation owns one of America's leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, links 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country. Union Pacific serves many of the fastest-growing U.S. population centers and provides Americans with a fuel-efficient, environmentally responsible and safe mode of freight transportation. Union Pacific's diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Energy, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad emphasizes excellent customer service and offers competitive routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways. Union Pacific connects with Canada's rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major gateways to Mexico, making it North America's premier rail franchise.
Media Contact: Raquel Espinoza, 281-350-7771 or email@example.com
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