January 14, 2011

Operation Lifesaver launches Chicago safety campaign

Operation Lifesaver launched two new safety public service announcements (PSAs) last week at Amtrak’s Union Station in Chicago. The television safety campaign, targeting 18 to 34 year olds and Hispanic viewers, is aimed at preventing vehicle-train tragedies in the Chicago area, where crossing incidents increased in 2010.

Illinois Commerce Commission officials assisted in the kickoff event featuring the PSAs. The Federal Railroad Administration provided Operation Lifesaver’s grant for the campaign.

“Operation Lifesaver selected Chicago to launch this public service campaign because of its status as an important railroad hub,” said Illinois Operation Lifesaver State Coordinator Chip Pew. “With the growth of freight and commuter rail and the advent of high-speed rail, Operation Lifesaver’s safety message is more important than ever."

The first PSA, “Where’s the Best Man?” tells the story of a missing best man racing to his friend’s wedding. A hasty decision to “save time” at the crossing brings consequences, raising the question: “Getting there. Is it worth your life?”

The second PSA, “Conductor Distraido (Distracted Driver),” reaches out to 26 percent of the Chicago media market who watch Spanish-language TV.  It features two guys concentrating on a new truck’s electronic gadgets instead of the highway-rail grade crossing ahead, with the message: “Stay focused, stay alive at rail crossings.”

The spots will be shown on Chicago area television stations and their websites in cooperation with the Illinois Broadcasters Association.

PSAs will be distributed nationwide as funds become available.

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