For the past 40 years, Operation Lifesaver has worked hard to bring the rail safety message to Canadians. Unfortunately, rail tragedies still happen—and many occur at level railway crossings. In fact, between 2008 and 2018, more than 30 per cent of all rail incident fatalities in Canada happened at intersections where tracks cross roads at the same level (as opposed to going over or under them through overpasses or tunnels).
International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD) is a chance to educate drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians around the world about the hazards associated with these crossings. Launched in 2009 by railways in Europe and Israel, the annual campaign now takes place in 40 countries around the globe—including Canada.
Preventing tragedies at level crossings
Ninety-eight per cent of collisions at level crossings are caused by drivers failing to follow the traffic rules—and many of these incidents have tragic consequences. In August 2018, 17-year-old Kailynn Bursic-Panchuk died after her car was struck by a train
while travelling through a level rail crossing in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. Kailynn had been using her phone’s GPS to navigate and didn’t see or hear the train coming. Her tragic story is the subject of one of OL’s #STOPTrackTragedies videos.
To prevent tragedies like Kailynn’s, OL has made it a priority to educate drivers about the hazards of level crossings—and ensure they know how to navigate them safely. Last year, we partnered with the popular navigation app Waze
so that drivers are now alerted when they’re approaching a rail crossing. We’ve also developed an interactive Train to Drive VR video
that helps drivers learn how to safely approach railway crossings and avoid distractions.
Through our “Look. Listen. Live.” Community Safety Partnership Program
, we’re also helping communities to prevent tragic railway crossing incidents. This national initiative encourages municipalities from across the country to install “Look. Listen. Live.” decals on the pavement or sidewalk near railway crossings to remind both pedestrians and drivers of the hazards associated with rail crossings.
Marking International Level Crossing Awareness Day
So, on June 10th, help us mark International Level Crossing Awareness Day by brushing up on your rail safety knowledge. We are also asking Canadians to share ILCAD’s messages
on social media using the hashtag #ILCAD. Together, we can help prevent rail crossing tragedies.