There are roughly 32,000 level crossings across Canada. These are intersections where a railway crosses a road at the same level, as opposed to going over or under it using an overpass or tunnel. Unfortunately, collisions between trains and vehicles or pedestrians can occur at these crossings—if people don’t follow the rules.
International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD) is a chance to educate drivers, cyclists and pedestrians around the world about the need to use caution when approaching level crossings. Launched in 2009 by railways in Europe and Israel, the annual ILCAD campaign has spread around the globe, with 40 countries participating this year, including Canada. The goal is to draw attention to the dangers associated with level crossings and the need for everyone to pay close attention to road signs, signals and barriers that are there to protect them.
Preventing tragedies from occurring at level crossings
For years, Operation Lifesaver has worked hard to bring the rail safety message to Canadians. Through our partnership with Waze
, we’re giving drivers across the country a new tool to stay safe on the road. The popular navigation app now alerts drivers when they’re approaching a rail crossing and encourages them to approach with caution.
Through our “Look. Listen. Live.” Community Safety Partnership Program
, we’re also working with communities from coast to coast to help them prevent tragic railway crossing incidents from occurring. This national initiative encourages municipalities to install “Look. Listen. Live.” decals on the pavement near select railway crossings to remind both pedestrians and drivers of the hazards around railway crossings.
Educating drivers about crossing hazards
Unfortunately, 98 per cent of collisions at level crossings are caused by drivers failing to comply with the traffic rules. Between 2008 and 2018, just over 31 per cent of all rail incident fatalities in Canada occurred at railway crossings.
“Collisions at level railway crossings are tragically common, and each incident affects the victim’s family and friends, but also railway employees, first responders and the broader community,” says Sarah Mayes, National Director of Operation Lifesaver Canada. "ILCAD’s goal is to make the public more aware of the hazards around level crossings, and to remind people to do three simple things anytime they encounter one: Look. Listen. Live.
So, on June 11, help us mark International Level Crossing Awareness Day by brushing up on your rail safety knowledge, and encouraging your friends and family to do the same thing. Check out the many rail safety resources on our website
. A few minutes of your time could help save your life.