Operation Lifesaver, along with the Truro Police Service, CN Police and Via Rail, conducted a railway crossing safety blitz beside the train station for about two hours.
“I actually did speak to one driver,” about stopping on the tracks said Michael Cormier with Operation Lifesaver Nova Scotia. “It’s all about making sure people know not to stop on them.”
According to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, about 70 people are seriously injured in Canada each year (during a five year average) in incidents involving highway/railway crossings and trespassers on railway property. With more than 300 collisions, there are on average 89 fatalities.
“We’ve actually identified Truro as an area to focus on this year, so we will be up here quite a bit. We will be at the Colchester County Home Show in April, as well as the Maritime Federation of Model Railroaders convention in Tatamagouche (May 31 to June 2).”
With about 10 individuals clad in safety vests, motorists were stopped in each direction between the tracks and the intersection that includes Brunswick and Charles streets. All were given information pertaining to Operation Lifesaver and safety tips.
“Can you make the grade?” asked one of the volunteers as he handed out a pamphlet that features a quiz with multiple choice and true or false questions.
Cormier said many motorists, although they may not stop directly on the railway tracks, still don’t park far enough back.
“Some stop and if the bar were to come down, their vehicle would be under it,” he said. “It’s all about awareness.”
Truro Police Service inspector Rob Hearn said the department was eager to participate when contacted by Operation Lifesaver.
“The town is basically cut off in half when we have a train come through, so we’re always concerned about motorist and pedestrian safety,” Hearn said.
“We wanted to be there to help advise residents on those safety issues they need to know in respect to railroad safety.”
Operation Lifesaver has been in existence for 30 years, educating Canadians about public rail safety.
The Nova Scotia branch travels throughout the province and works with local law enforcement, as well as the larger organizations such as CN Police.
For more information on safety tips, including what the various signs pertaining to railway crossing mean, visit www.operationlifesaver.ca or visit the organization’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/oplifesaver. There is also a site for kids at www.olkids.ca.
Some safety tips at highway/railway crossings:
- Expect a train on any track at any time – day or night
- Never get trapped on a crossing. Wait on the approach until you are sure you can clear the crossing completely.
- When the last car passes, do not proceed until you are sure there is no train coming on another track, in the same or opposite direction.
- Never drive around the gates. If the gate is down, or in the process of being raised or lowered, do not cross the tracks.
- Never race a train to the crossing.
- If your vehicle stalls on a crossing, get all occupants out immediately and move at least 30 metres away. This will reduce the chances of being struck by flying debris if the train hits the stalled vehicle.
Source: Operation Lifesaver