Passenger trains colliding with vehicles

This video discusses passenger trains colliding with vehicles, which is one of the nine safety issues identified by the Transportation Safety Board as posing the greatest risk to Canadians. To find out more about these safety issues, see the Watchlist 2012.

Transcript of the video

Passenger trains colliding with vehicles

Advancing safety is at the core of what we do at the Transportation Safety Board. Our Watchlist—updated in June 2012—is the result of hundreds of investigations and countless hours of accident analysis. It identifies the issues that pose the greatest risk to Canadians and our transportation system. The risk of passenger trains colliding with vehicles at public crossings is one of these key issues.

Trains and vehicles routinely cross close to 15,000 railway crossings throughout Canada. But driving over a public crossing is not without risk.

About every two weeks—a passenger train collides with a vehicle at a public railway crossing. 60% of the time, these accidents result in injury or fatality, and over one quarter of them are in Canada's busiest and most-traveled corridor from Quebec City to Windsor. But behind these statistics are real people—people who have lost their lives or been seriously injured.

Sometimes an oncoming train is not easy to spot because of the sightlines, snow, or fog. Other times, drivers maneuver around a lowered crossing gate or ignore advanced warning signage or devices. These are dangerous acts. Passenger trains can travel at speeds of up 160 km/h. At these speeds, drivers are unable to accurately perceive how quickly an oncoming train is approaching and react in time. This is why it is absolutely vital to pay extra attention at rail crossings.

The TSB first signaled the urgency of this issue over a decade ago and more still needs to be done. Emergency contact signage needs to be clearly visible, low-clearance warning signs should be standardized and above all safety assessments need to be conducted at level crossings in Canada's high speed rail corridor. So we will all know where the risks lie.

Rail safety is one of our top priorities at the TSB. Until governments and industry address the risk of passenger trains colliding with vehicles, we will continue to push for action on this important Watchlist issue.