Canadians are marking the start of Rail Safety Week three weeks after a fatal train-car collision southwest of London.
The initiative began 14 years ago by “Operation Lifesaver”, a national safety program that aims to educate residents on the dangers surrounding railway crossings.
“Anybody who’s driving approaching tracks or anybody thinking about taking a short cut across the tracks, we just want to raise their awareness,” said National Director Mike Regimbal.
According to the group, around 100 Canadians die or suffer serious injuries each year on railway tracks they should not be on.
Despite an increase in commuter rail usage over the past decade, the number of crossing and trespassing accidents have declined 38 per cent, fatalities are down 56 percent, and serious injuries have fallen by half.
However, 2016 is off to a bad start for trespasser fatalities, according to Regimbal.
“There’s been nine trespasser fatalities across Canada already,” he said. “That’s a terrible trend…we believe the number should be zero and that each and every incident is preventable.”
Back on April 4th, two women from Strathroy died when a VIA Rail passenger train smashed into their vehicle at a rail crossing on Melbourne Road near Glendon Drive.
The crossing — which is equipped with warning lights but no crossing arms — was later revealed to be the fourth highest risk in Canada, according to a 2014 report by Transport Canada.
Rail Safety Week starts runs until Sunday.
With files from Natalie Lovie