OTTAWA, Ont.–Operation Lifesaver (OL), Canada’s national rail safety awareness program, is reminding everyone to See Tracks? Think Train! during its annual Public-Rail Safety Week (PRSW), April 28 – May 4.
“Railways operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” said OL national director Mike Regimbal. “Where there are tracks, there’s likely to be a train nearby.”
Now in its twelfth year, PRSW takes place across Canada and encourages drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to be safe while traveling near rail crossings or tracks. Throughout the See Tracks? Think Train! campaign, OL partners and volunteers will promote rail safety by engaging in dozens of community-level events including school presentations, crossing blitzes and mock collisions.
“This year, in collaboration with our sister organization in the US, we adopted the theme from their recently launched campaign,” said Regimbal. “We have railway partners that operate throughout North America and they embraced the opportunity to promote a consistent public message that fits well with our mission.”
The number of crossing accidents in Canada has dropped from more than 800 annually in 1980 to 188 in 2013. Trespasser accidents totaled 58 in 2013, down from the 2012 total of 74 and down from the five-year average of 73, said the release.
While this reduction speaks to the success of safety efforts undertaken in that time, there still remains unnecessary loss of life and injury with 75 fatalities and 37 serious injuries occurring in 2013 as a result of crossing collisions and trespassing on railway property.
There are some 16,000 public highway-railway crossings in Canada and most collisions occur within 40 km of the person’s home.
Operation Lifesaver spreads its motto of “Look, Listen and Live” through its many year-long initiatives that complement PRSW, including interactive websites, online new and professional driver education modules, and social media outreach on Twitter and Facebook. Additionally, OL’s network of volunteers conducts more than 500 rail safety presentations and activities across Canada each year, the release added.