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CN : Reducing railroad crossing accidents

04/29/2009 AT 07:44

The railroad's Target Zero public awareness campaign kicks off this week with CN Police officers out in full force, conducting their annual safety blitz operations at railroad crossings and commuter stations in about 180 locations across the United States and Canada. They will alert motorists and pedestrians to the importance of safety at crossings and warn them about the dangers of trespassing.

In 2008, there were 1,339 injuries and 744 fatalities in the United States in railroad grade crossing and trespassing incidents. CN is relentless and will not be satisfied until the numbers of injuries and fatalities are at zero. Target Zero has a clear objective: Zero accidents, Zero injuries and Zero fatalities.

CN Police Chief Bobby Walker said: “CN Police will continue educating adults and children about safety at railroad crossings and tracks and will aggressively enforce the law. There are still too many accidents and an unacceptable number of injuries and deaths. Target Zero is our goal and we will not tolerate people disobeying crossing signals/gates or trespassing on railroad property. Our goal is to use education, prevention and enforcement until the numbers of accidents, injuries and fatalities reach zero.”

There are approximately 228,000 public and private highway-rail grade crossings in the U.S. Close to 50 per cent of collisions between vehicles and trains occur at crossings with active warning devices (gates, lights and/or bell). In 2008, there were 2,373 accidents at railroad crossings, 913 injuries and 286 fatalities.

Trespassing includes walking, playing or running on or beside railroad tracks; driving a bike, a car, an ATV, a snowmobile or any other vehicle on or beside railroad tracks; taking a shortcut across railroad tracks or property; and entering railroad yards at any time. Trespassing is the leading cause of rail-related fatalities in the U.S. In 2008, trespassing led to 426 injuries and 458 fatalities. The consequences of trespassing incidents are extremely worrisome since more than 50 per cent of such incidents result in death.

CN Police asks the public to contact them immediately at 1-800-465-9239 and call 911 if they see someone disobeying the signals at a railroad crossing or trespassing on tracks or railroad property.

CN has been promoting railroad safety for more than 25 years through its All Aboard for Safety community education program. Every year, CN Police officers make hundreds of All Aboard for Safety presentations and talk to more than 300,000 children and adults at schools and community events in the United States and Canada about the importance of safety and the dangers of walking and playing on or near railroad tracks. Part of the strength of this program is the collaborative relationship with major community safety partners: Operation Lifesaver, Safe Kids USA, Safe Communities America and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

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