RALEIGH – You wouldn’t take photos in the middle of an interstate or on an airport runway, so why consider standing on railroad tracks to get that one shot? This is the question that the N.C. Department of Transportation’s BeRailSafe program is asking individuals and photographers, urging them to stop taking photographs on railroad tracks. This activity is trespassing and against the law.
“You put your life at risk by trespassing on railroad tracks,” said Paul Worley, director of NCDOT’s Rail Division. “We need photographers, school administrators and parents to educate students about the potential danger of taking photos on railroad tracks.”
Last year, 21 people were killed while trespassing on North Carolina railroad tracks. Another seven individuals received non-fatal injuries.
“Those are 21 people who will not be returning home to their families,” added Worley. “We want to remind everyone that these types of accidents are completely avoidable if you stay off and away from the tracks.”
Spring is the season for graduations and prom portraits. NCDOT is working with the Department of Public Instruction in asking high school yearbook staff advisers to notify students and photographers of the dangers involved in taking photographs on or near railroad tracks, and warn them that any such portraits will be rejected.
Some important safety information for photographers and students to remember is:
Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and rights-of-way are private property, and using them as photo backdrops is trespassing.
Trains cannot stop quickly to avoid people or vehicles on the tracks.
It is difficult to determine a train’s speed from a distance. Trains typically overhang the track by at least three feet.
Never assume railroad tracks are abandoned or inactive.
BeRailSafe works with North Carolina Operation Lifesaver, railroads and other safety stakeholders to educate children, teens and adults on the dangers of trespassing on railroad tracks, property and equipment.