Every year, dozens of tragedies happen at the more than 33,000 level crossings across our country. In fact, in the past decade, more than a third of all rail-incident fatalities in Canada occurred where roads intersect with railway tracks.
International Level Crossing Awareness Day
(ILCAD) is a worldwide initiative aimed at preventing these incidents by educating drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians about the hazards associated with level crossings. Launched in 2009 by railways in Europe and Israel, the annual campaign now takes place in 50 countries around the globe—including Canada.
This year’s event (held on June 15th
) is dedicated to ensuring that truck drivers and agricultural workers have the tools they need to safely navigate level crossings. The goal is to make these drivers more aware of the risks they may encounter, especially when crossing tracks with long and heavy vehicles. The campaign also aims to shed light on the impacts that risky actions at crossings can have on railway passengers and personnel.
Knowing the rail-safety rules is key
Level crossings are safe, as long as users respect railway warning signs and signals. 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.
For example, in January 2023, an 80-year-old man was killed
in a collision between a tractor and a train south of North Bay, Ont. The year before, in April, a driver was killed in a chain-reaction collision in Maple Ridge, B.C.
involving a flat-bed truck, a train, and an SUV. The truck was trying to make it across the tracks when an oncoming train struck the back-end of its trailer, propelling it into the SUV, killing the woman behind the wheel.
Preventing tragedies at level crossings
Farmers and professional drivers are two groups that Operation Lifesaver (OL) tries to reach with its rail-safety message. Two of OL’s Train to Drive
virtual-reality videos were specifically designed to teach these drivers how to stay safe around tracks and trains. These interactive training videos test whether drivers know how to safely approach railway crossings, and respond to life-threatening situations such as a vehicle stalling on the tracks. So if you’re an agricultural worker or a professional driver, why not put your rail safety knowledge to the test
? It only takes a few minutes to ensure you know the rail safety rules, but it could save your life!
And on June 15th, help us mark International Level Crossing Awareness Day by sharing ILCAD’s messages
on social media using the hashtag #ILCAD. Everyone has a role to play in keeping our communities safe from rail incidents at level crossings. Together, we can #STOPTrackTragedies.