Recent Lake Forest High School graduate Max Moore learned firsthand about the deadly consequences of distraction near railway crossings during his childhood.
In 2003 one of his good friends, Steven Malin, lost his life in a train accident in Lake Forest when he was just a fifth grader.
"Up until that time, I didn't know that trains could kill people," Moore said, explaining the tragedy made him more aware of the importance of using caution around railroad tracks.
The accident that killed Moore's friend has not been the only train fatality in Lake Forest.
Over the last three years, the city's west side Metra station has seen three train related fatalities. This prompted the Lake Forest City Council to form a Transportation Safety Management Committee to help enhance public safety around railroad crossings.
"Public Safety is a priority in Lake Forest," Lake Forest Mayor James Cowhey said. "Train Safety Week is just one way we've identified to help us remind residents to eliminate distractions, such as using cell phones, when waiting for trains. We'll continue to reinforce that message."
The newly formed committee approached the telecommunications and new media productions department at Lake Forest High School, led by department head Steve Douglass, about producing a transportation safety video that would focus on the dangers of distraction near the city's railroad tracks and crossings.
"This is a first and foremost a public safety issue," said Carina Walters, assistant city administrator for Lake Forest.
Moore, who is now a freshman at the University of Iowa, and 2007 LFHS graduate Connor Hartnett, played key roles in producing the eight-minute video, which was shot in various places around Lake Forest and Lake Bluff this past summer.
They received input from Cowhey, the city of Lake Forest and its residents to ensure that the video hit home for as many people as possible.
"We tried to keep it as local as possible," said Douglass, in hopes that the familiar settings would bring across a clear message to those who view it.
Titled "Trainception," the video focuses on a typical family of four; a mother, father, high-school aged son, and his younger brother who go through their day distracted by the constant hurry of everyday life.
The characters, especially the high-school aged boy, were created to intentionally start a dialogue among parents and children and also among school peers.
"Adults can talk to their kids until their purple in the face, but kids often get the message when talking to their friends," Walters said.
Moore said the memory of his friend was actually helpful in the production of the video.
"I was inspired because you want to make sure you do a great job," he said.
Lake Forest High School plans to show its video to the Lake Forest City Council in early November, but it also hopes to attract as many people in the community to see it as possible in the coming weeks.
"We want this to make people think the next time they cross a track," Douglass said.
To view the video, go to LFHS Telecom, New Media.