Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rail crossings make Canada's safety watch list

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The Canadian federal government and the railways must improve safety at high-risk crossings on busy passenger train routes, according to the country's transportation accident investigator, local media report.

The Transportation Safety Board identified that issue as one of nine areas it says pose the greatest risks to Canadians. The nine areas are part of a watch list released by the board in Ottawa.

The group said there have been 380 incidents in the last 15 years at railway crossings, and 106 Canadians have died when their vehicle was struck by a passenger train.

With rail traffic growing in expanding communities, the Transportation Safety Board said improved signage at crossings is just the first step needed. The agency said Transport Canada and the industry must do a thorough assessment to identify high-risk crossings.

The watch list put together by the independent agency also stressed the need for safety improvements aboard Canada's fishing vessels.

Keeping with marine transport, the Transportation Safety Board also said Canada's ferries must improve their safety practices by keeping detailed passenger lists and practicing evacuations.

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