If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s when you have a person going up against a 8,000-ton train, the train always wins. Union Pacific Railroad is turning to social media to remind the public of this important fact following a series of tragic accidents.
According to statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration, last year 915 people died or were injured across the U.S. after trespassing on railroad property or right-of-ways. Many of these resulted when people disregarded warning signals at railroad crossings, for example by trying to drive around gates or walk across the tracks.
Obviously this is just plain dangerous. People assume they’ll notice the trains in time to get out of the way but this isn’t always the case: empty cargo trains move fast, electric locomotives are actually surprisingly quiet, and there’s a risk of vehicles getting stuck on the tracks.
On that note Union Pacific has mounted a social media-only campaign reminding people of the risk and urging them to heed railroad crossing signals and gates and stay out of the railroad right of way. The campaign includes videos showing various individuals, including drivers and pedestrians, waiting for trains to pass, the arms to lift, and then proceeding into their glorious personal future.
Union Pacific senior vice president for corporate relations Scott Moore stated: “Our message is straightforward – Your Life is Worth the Wait. Union Pacific trains operate in more than 7,300 communities; too often our employees see drivers or pedestrians sneak around the gates. Even after applying the emergency brakes, it can take a mile for a train to stop; the risk is never worth it.”
The railroad previously ran a campaign to discourage the trend of young adults using railroad tracks as backgrounds for selfies and group portraits, following the deaths of several teenagers taking high school senior photos.