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CN to focus on deadly trespassing issue during rail safety week


MONTREAL, Que. — CN plans to emphasize the deadly risks of trespassing on railway property during Rail Safety Week from April 23 to 29, 2007.

CN Police officers will be out in full force this week, conducting their annual safety blitz operations at highway/railway crossings in about 100 locations across Canada and the United States, alerting motorists to the importance of safety at crossings and to the dire consequences of trespassing on railway property.

Trespassing includes: walking, playing or running on or beside railway tracks; driving a bike, a car, an ATV, a snowmobile, or any other vehicle on or beside railway tracks; taking a shortcut across railway tracks or railway property or entering railway yards at any time.

Recent statistics reveal that trespassing incidents claimed 58 lives in Canada in 2006, remaining at a constant yearly average over the past decade, while fatalities due to crossing collisions were down to 28, reflecting a steady improvement during the same period. Statistics also show that in 2006, 93 per cent of trespassing incidents resulted in death or serious injuries (63 per cent fatalities and 30 per cent serious injuries)(1).

CN Police Chief Serge Meloche said: “Trespassing on railway tracks and in rail yards is dangerous and illegal and CN Police officers strictly enforce regulations by issuing tickets to trespassers. However, railway properties are extremely large and spread out and it is very difficult to stop trespassing. Enforcement is not enough – education can help reduce fatalities. This is why we are increasing our efforts to inform people of the very serious risks they take when trespassing.”

This year, during the safety blitz operations, CN Police officers will conduct an information campaign with motorists, cautioning them against trespassing and providing them with a flyer about what people need to know about trespassing.

Meloche added: “Our message is clear: Don’t put yourself at risk by trespassing on railway property. In other words, don’t let a shortcut cut your life short. Acting responsibly and safely is the right thing to do and it is everyone’s responsibility.”

Focusing its efforts on promoting safety is not new for CN. Every year, CN Police officers make hundreds of All Aboard for Safety presentations and talk to more than a quarter of a million children and adults at schools and community events about the importance of safety and the dangers of walking and playing on or near railway tracks. They also conduct dramatic, high-impact simulations of train-vehicle collisions to demonstrate the potentially dire consequences of being careless and/or drinking and driving, especially at crossings.

Rail Safety Week was created in 2003 by Operation Lifesaver and its partners to raise public awareness of the potential dangers at highway/railway crossings and from trespassing on railway property.