A new rail safety campaign called “Don’t Risk It” has been launched by the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Hallandale Beach. The campaign hopes to raise awareness about the risks of reckless behavior around trains and rail crossings, intending to reduce the number of accidents in the region. The campaign was officially revealed by transportation and city officials this week.
“We take the safety of our residents and visitors seriously, which is why we are proud to take lead on this important issue,” Greg Stuart says, executive director of Broward MPO. “With the recent changes favoring quiet zone changes, it is now more important than ever for pedestrians and drivers to remain vigilant around railroad crossings. By working together with our cities and raising awareness about train safety, we can prevent accidents.”
There were 2,188 highway-rail grade crossing collisions in the U.S. this year, according to Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), a nonprofit organization that provides rail safety education. Out of these incidents, 274 were fatal and 777 resulted in injuries. Florida is among the top 25 states with the highest rates of these collisions, ranking No. 4 with 117 reported incidents, 21 deaths and 51 injuries.
The “Don’t Risk It” campaign by Broward MPO features a comprehensive approach that includes different types of roadway signage, educational materials, flyers, and social media posts. In addition, a television spot and ads will help spread the message and remind everyone, including residents and visitors, to stay alert around trains and railroad crossings. By following simple precautions, such as heeding warning signals and avoiding distractions, the goal is to prevent tragic accidents.
Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization is a federally mandated agency responsible for making policy on local transportation issues and deciding how to spend federal money on relevant projects in Broward.