ALEXANDRIA, VA: The Operation Lifesaver program has launched a new campaign to persuade news media and advertising organizations around the country to stop showing images that it said fails to document the consequences of engaging in activities near or on railroad tracks. The group says over 2,000 people per year are injured or killed by trains.
Aided by Arlington, VA-based Buckley & Kaldenbach, the 34-year-old nonprofit will use the campaign to argue that photos of people walking along or standing near train tracks fail to show the risks of such behavior and can even encourage it, leading to death or serious injuries.
"I don't think the media would ever purposely try to put people in harm's way, but, when you glamorize some kid walking down the track, it's got to have an impact," said Operation Lifesaver president Gerri Hall. "We get a new crop of PR guys and media folks every year, so we're continually in a state of reeducation."
In addition to the direct media outreach, Operation Lifesaver is also working to help cities throughout the US that have developed light-rail systems to educate their communities using more uniform messaging about pedestrian safety.
"If you keep hitting the nail on the head with similar information, rather than having 200 different messages, then it's more like people will start to hear the message," said Marmie Edwards, Operation Lifesaver's VP of communications.
To reach teens, Operation Lifesaver contracted with online marketing agency Viget Labs to create a website called www.willyougetnailed.com, featuring video done in amateur filmmaking-style depicting the dangers of train tracks.