OTTAWA, ON –(COMMUNITYWIRE)– Every year, more than 2,100 North Americans are killed or seriously injured in rail crossing and trespassing incidents. Next week, Operation Lifesaver (OL) Canada will mark an important milestone in its efforts to #STOPTrackTragedies: the 20th anniversary of its annual Rail Safety Week campaign (September 18-24, 2023).
Since 2003, Rail Safety Week (RSW) has served to remind Canadians that taking risks near tracks and trains—whether it’s using tracks as a shortcut or a recreational path, train-hopping, ignoring railway signs and signals, or being distracted at crossings—could cost them a limb, or their life. By 2017, the U.S. had launched its own RSW campaign, followed by Mexico in 2020, making Rail Safety Week a truly North American effort.
“The 20th anniversary of Rail Safety Week is a time to take stock of the great work that OL Canada, its partners, and Rail Safety Ambassadors have done to save lives over the past two decades,” says Sarah Mayes, OL Canada’s National Director. “But even one rail crossing or trespassing incident is one too many—so we’re calling on Canadians to help us reach as many people with the rail-safety message this year as possible.”
Rail Safety Week 2023 will be marked by a national digital and out-of-home advertising campaign, as well as public outreach events across the country to encourage safe behaviours around tracks and trains.
OL will kick off the week with a launch event on Saturday, September 16th at 11:30 a.m. at the Toronto Railway Museum. New “Look. Listen. Live.” rail safety decals will be unveiled at the museum’s mini-train crossing, and OL will also host readings of its Stay Safe with Thomas storybook for families that afternoon. A full schedule of the day’s events is available on the museum’s website.
On September 19th, law enforcement partners will join forces with OL through Operation Clear Track—the single largest rail-safety law-enforcement initiative in North America. Hundreds of law enforcement agencies from across Canada will work to enforce rail crossing and trespassing laws, and promote rail-safety messages in communities through pamphlets, press releases, and social media posts.
On September 21st, OL will unveil rail safety decals and signs in more than 30 municipalities from coast to coast, to remind pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists to exercise caution and “Look. Listen. Live.” at rail crossings. Communities from Revelstoke, B.C. to Grand Bay-Westfield, N.B. have installed decals this year, bringing the total number of municipalities engaged in OL’s Community Safety Partnership Program to 100.
OL will also launch two powerful new #STOPTrackTragedies videos during Rail Safety Week, to tell the personal stories of people affected by rail crossing and trespassing incidents, and to remind Canadians that unsafe behaviour around tracks and trains isn’t worth the risk. The videos will be promoted on social media, and through pre-show ads in select Cineplex and Magic Lantern Theatres across Canada.
Finally, OL will cap off Rail Safety Week by announcing the winners of its 2022 Roger Cyr Awards — annual awards given to Rail Safety Ambassadors and communities that have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to promoting rail safety in Canada.
Canadians are encouraged to support OL’s 20th anniversary Rail Safety Week campaign by heeding these rail safety tips, by following OL Canada on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and by sharing OL’s Rail Safety Week social media messages with their loved ones using the hashtags #STOPTrackTragedies and #RSW2023.
About Operation Lifesaver Canada
Operation Lifesaver Canada is a national public rail-safety program sponsored by Transport Canada, the Railway Association of Canada and its members, including CN, CPKC, VIA Rail, Metrolinx, exo, West Coast Express and Genesee & Wyoming, among others. Through its national network of Rail Safety Ambassadors, partnerships with safety councils, police, the trucking industry and community groups, and innovative tools such as its virtual-reality Look. Listen. Live. campaign, Operation Lifesaver Canada works to save lives by educating Canadians about the hazards of trespassing on railway property and failing to exercise caution at rail crossings. Canadians can keep up-to-date on the latest rail safety news by visiting operationlifesaver.ca.
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