BRIGHAM CITY – Photos taken on train tracks have grown in popularity over the years for senior portraits, weddings, engagements, and family photos. However, when photographers and their clients take these pictures, they are technically breaking the law. Utah’s Operation Lifesaver State Coordinator Vern Keeslar dedicates much of his time to teaching train safety. He thinks many people are unaware of the dangers that come with being on railroad tracks.
“A lot of people don’t understand that railroad property is private property and so when they’re on private railroad tracks, they’re trespassing. People don’t understand the dangers associated with that trespassing,” he said.
If the Union Pacific Police Department or Utah Transit Authority Police see you on the railroad tracks, they can write you a ticket since it’s a trespassing citation, explained Keeslar.
Besides getting a ticket, Keeslar expressed how unsafe it is to be near the tracks.
“Every three hours in America, someone is in a collision with a train. You are 20 times more likely to die in a collision with a train than you are with another motor vehicle,” he said.
Just to give you an idea, a 12 million pound freight train running over a 3,000 pound automobile is comparable to your own automobile running over a 12 ounce soda can.
“A couple months ago, I was in Lehi, I went by and saw 80 people from a wedding party standing in the middle of the railroad tracks,” said Keeslar. “We need to educate the photographers.”
Operation Lifesaver started in 1972 in the state of Idaho and has been in Utah since 1976. Their target audience is mostly new drivers, but they present safety information to anyone interested. Keeslar said they are always looking for groups to speak to. Anyone interested in learning more about railroad safety can check out <a href=”http://www.olut.usu.edu/” target=”_blank”>Operation Lifesaver Utah’s website</a>.