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Metra announces 14th annual safety contest

Metra has announced the launch of the 14th Annual Safety Poster and Essay Contest, asking students to illustrate through posters and essays the importance of safe behaviors near the railroad. 

This year’s theme is “Obey the Signs,” which emphasizes the importance of looking for and obeying signs and control devices that are installed along the railroad tracks and at rail crossings.

Since 2006, Metra has been bringing safety lessons into classrooms across northeast Illinois through its Safety Poster and Essay Contest. Over the past decade, more than 36,000 students have had the opportunity to show what they’ve learned about the importance of safe behaviors around trains and railroad tracks. 

The contest is open to all students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade living or attending school in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties where Metra offers service. The first place prize is an iPad, second place $250 gift card and third place a $100 gift card.

The deadline for all entries is Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. The contest website is metracontest.com. 

The winning designs will be featured in Metra’s safety calendar, website, station displays and on weekend passes.

Metra will also recognize the school that submits the most entries in the 2019-2020 Safety Poster Contest by awarding it a new computer compatible with the school’s current system. Each school’s entries will be totaled after the contest deadline on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.

“Metra has been encouraging students for 14 years to get involved in rail safety awareness by making them authors of the message,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “Safety is our highest priority and with this contest it is our goal is to expose more young people to the lessons of railroad safety, obey the signs and ultimately prevent unnecessary tragedies on our tracks.”

In 2018 alone, 819 people were injured, and 271 people lost their lives in the U.S. in collisions at railroad crossings, according to statistics compiled by the Federal Railroad Administration. 

In Illinois, 26 people died in 2018 when they were struck by trains while trespassing on railroad property and 17 people died in 2018 when they were struck by trains at a highway-rail crossing. 

Each one of these incidents was completely preventable, a Metra spokesperson said, adding Metra feels it’s important to reach out and educate people, especially children, about how to be smart and stay safe around the railroad tracks and rail crossings found throughout the region.

Metra has a long history of being active in railroad safety education efforts through its participation in Operation Lifesaver, a railroad industry educational program that teaches train safety awareness.

 Metra has two Operation Lifesaver presenters who provide nearly 1,000 safety blitzes and safety presentations each year stressing the message “Look, Listen and Live” to schools, driver education programs and various community organizations. For more information about Metra’s overall railroad safety outreach and programs visit metrarail.com.


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