CHICAGO — In its new safety campaign, the CTA wants to remind you it's not worth risking your life to retrieve the cell phone you've just dropped on the tracks.
The campaign, which features the tagline "Stay Off the Tracks, It's Not Worth Your Life," reminds customers that trying to pick up lost items that have fallen on the tracks, standing too close to the edge of the platform or trespassing along the tracks pose serious dangers.
“Safety has always been and will always be our No. 1 priority, in every facet of our operations,” CTA President Forrest Claypool said in a statement. “We created the campaign as an important reminder to our customers, and we believe it will help further promote safe behavior on our rail system.”
One of the hidden dangers of stepping onto the tracks is the risk of touching the third rail, which uses 600 volts of electricity to send trains roaring down tracks, a charge that's likely to be fatal to those who come into contact with it, the CTA said.
In 2012, 11 people died as a result of being on the tracks, according to the CTA's statistics. In 2011, there were nine such fatalities. Since 2009, there have been between six and 12 rail-related deaths annually, "many of which involve intentional acts by customers," the CTA said.
The CTA received more than 300 reports of people on the tracks in 2012, the transit service said. Many of those incidents involved alcohol, and not very many were instances of people who accidentally fell or tripped on the tracks, the CTA said.
Few people are arrested because they usually leave before anyone can get to them, according to the transit agency.
People who drop things on the tracks, such as cell phones, should contact a station employee who has received safety training rather than try to retrieve the item themselves, the CTA said.
The new campaign will roll out on rail cars and stations this week and will also be included on digital signs at stations, the CTA said. The ads join the CTA's already existing safety promotion, which includes signs along the tracks, at "L" stations and in "L" cars, as well as safety brochures and information on the CTA website.
“This campaign will expand and reinforce the important safety messages we provide our customers every day,” Claypool said.