OTTAWA, April 22 /CNW/ - High school students across Canada will be targeted for trespass prevention initiatives and police officers will blitz motorists at highway/ railway crossings to help Operation Lifesaver and its partners publicize safety along Canada's railways in some 200 communities next week. The 2010 national Rail Safety Public Awareness Week kicks off on April 26.
Operation Lifesaver is a national public safety program sponsored by Transport Canada, the Railway Association of Canada and their partners. It works with provincial safety councils, police, unions, railways and community groups to help reduce crossing collisions and trespassing incidents along Canada's railways in communities across the country.
"Highway/railway crossing collisions have dropped 77 per cent, since 1981" said Operation Lifesaver's national director Dan Di Tota. Nevertheless, 71 people were still killed last year and 36 others seriously injured at crossings and from trespassing on railway property. That was down from 73 killed and 56 injured in 2008.
"We launched Rail Safety Week in 2003 to raise public awareness of the dangers associated with trying to race a train to a crossing or from taking a shortcut through a working rail yard," said Mr. Di Tota. "If the initiative saves one life, it helps achieve our objective."
Transport Canada recently announced its plans to invest almost $11 million to upgrade 155 level crossings in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.
The Operation Lifesaver program has an excellent track record. The week officially runs until May 2, and will include numerous local events and activities across Canada. It includes broadcast of radio public service announcements, safety presentations by volunteers in schools, mall displays, media interviews and speeches to community groups.
SOURCE Railway Association of Canada
For further information: For further information: Paul Goyette, Railway Association of Canada, (613) 564-8097, www.railcan.ca; Sean Rushton, Transport Canada, (613) 991-6031, www.tc.gc.ca