Operation Lifesaver Launches Rail Safety Week 2016

Urges Canadians - See Tracks? Think!

  • Congratulates Canadians on reducing accidents, fatalities and serious injuries to their lowest levels in 10 years
  • Hundreds of events to be held nationally during Rail Safety Week 2016 in effort to further increase public awareness of rail safety
  • Celebrate the 35th anniversary of Operation Lifesaver

OTTAWA, April 25, 2016 /CNW/ - Operation Lifesaver (OL) today announced the launch of Rail Safety Week 2016 (RSW2016), which runs nationally from Monday, April 25 until Sunday, May 1. The theme of RSW2016 is - See Tracks? Think! - which asks Canadians to take a moment this week to learn about safety practices they should be using around railway tracks so that they never experience unnecessary injury or death from a train. Operation Lifesaver's video call-to-action can be viewed on the RSW2016 homepage.

A Shared Responsibility

RSW2016 emphasizes a shared responsibility between communities, rail operators and all levels of government. Together, these stakeholders must remain vigilant in working to ensure that rail safety knowledge and practices reach as many Canadians as possible.

Over the next three years the Federal Government plans to invest up to $3.4 billion in public transit, which includes commuter rail. Both the transport of people and goods via rail will continue to be a growing part of Canadian life and as it does OL believes one of the most important tools in reducing crossing and trespassing tragedies will be the general public's awareness of rail safety.

RSW2016 will include hundreds of events across the nation and we encourage Canadians to visit our events calendar to find one in their area where they can learn more about rail safety. In addition, groups, schools, and communities can request an in-person OL presentation at any time during the year through our website.  

A Positive Trend

Despite a 26 percent rise in commuter rail usage over the past 10 years, the number of crossing and trespassing accidents have declined 38 percent, fatalities have declined 56 percent, and serious injuries have declined 50 percent over that same period.  

2015 marked the best safety performance in the past 10 years and in comparison to 2014 showed:

  • A national 10 percent decline in accidents (from 240 to 217), 17 percent decline in fatalities (from 54 to 45) and a 28 percent decline in serious injuries (from 50 to 36); figures combine both crossing and trespassing incidents
  • Quebec saw the greatest reduction in crossing fatalities from nine in 2014 to three in 2015
  • Saskatchewan, for the first time in the past 10 years, recorded zero crossing fatalities (compared to two in 2014)
  • Manitoba marked the largest percentage decline in serious injuries, from eight in 2014 to just two in 2015 (a 74 percent reduction)
  • Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia all saw across-the-board declines in accidents, fatalities and serious injuries (note: BC serious injuries remained flat)

While 2015's statistics tell us we're making significant progress, Operation Lifesaver believes we can still do more and RSW2016 asks Canadians to join in helping reduce rail tragedies even further in the coming year. With four light rail transits operating in Canada and eight more coming online by 2022, rail safety must remain at the forefront of Canadians' minds for this positive trend to continue.

Operation Lifesaver Celebrates 35th Anniversary

"For the last 35 years Operation Lifesaver has been dedicated to preventing as many crossing and trespassing incidents as possible by raising awareness of rail safety among all Canadians," said OL national director Mike Regimbal. "Crossing and pedestrian safety is a shared responsibility among communities, rail operators and all levels of government. Support from those parties has resulted in lives saved and injuries prevented, with the past year being one of our best on record. Yet, for all there is to celebrate, we must also remember that there is still more to be done, because every injury or death is entirely preventable."

"The Government of Canada is committed to reducing rail injuries and fatalities by investing in measures that raise awareness and improve the safety of Canadians. I congratulate Operation Lifesaver for its commitment over the last 35 years, in raising awareness and educating Canadians about the hazards surrounding rail property and trains. Knowing how to avoid the dangers around railway tracks is one of the most effective strategies we have in protecting our youth, families, friends and ourselves from harm," said The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport.

RSW2016 Resources

During RSW2016, Operation Lifesaver encourages both the media and communities to take advantage of our extensive list of safety resources, including:

  • The Misadventures of BOB – A prevention and awareness series of sixteen cartoon posters that tell the tale of Bob and the mistakes he makes around railway tracks.
  • Media and photographer tip sheet – Media and photographers often take photographs of rail tracks in a way that puts themselves in danger. Learn how to stay safe with our tip sheet.
  • Photo database – For those seeking copyright-free images relating to rail, please visit our database which contains hundreds of high-resolution photos for public and media use.  

A Call For Engagement

Beyond RSW2016 events and activities, OL is calling on Canadians to engage in rail safety year round on social media. OL is on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and throughout the year provides the latest in rail safety news. Attaining and sharing safety tips that will save lives is as easy as following us on social media.

Also, join us in getting the word out during RSW2016 with the hashtags #seetracksthink and #RSW2016.

About Operation Lifesaver

Established in Canada in 1981, Operation Lifesaver is a national public-rail safety program sponsored by Transport Canada and the Railway Association of Canada. Through partnerships with provincial safety councils, police, railways, the trucking industry and community groups, Operation Lifesaver is dedicated to saving lives by educating Canadians about the hazards surrounding highway/railway crossings and trespassing on railway property.


SOURCE Operation Lifesaver

For further information: Mike Regimbal, National Director, Operation Lifesaver, 613-564-8100, miker@railcan.ca; Alex Paterson, Railway Association of Canada, 613-564-8111, alexp@railcan.ca

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