Canadian Transportation Safety Board Calls for Standardized Railroad Crossing Warnings

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) last week called for a national standard to prevent collisions between trains and vehicles at Canada's railway crossings.

The board made the recommendation following its investigation of a 2008 collision between a passenger train and a lowboy tractor-trailer stopped on a crossing. The TSB found that no signs were installed at the crossing to warn the truck driver that the slope of the road over the crossing was too steep for his truck.

"In the last ten years, there have been four collisions between trucks and trains on this busy railway corridor," said Tom Griffith, Investigator in Charge. "It's time to put clear warning signs where they're needed and take the guesswork out of safety," he added.

Following a similar accident in 2002, Transport Canada worked with road and railway authorities to develop low ground clearance warning signage, but there is no national standard. Some crossings have signs, but the TSB said their design and placement is inconsistent.

The board also wants driver training requirements strengthened to include handling emergencies at railway crossings.

"The goal is to prevent vehicles from getting stuck at crossings and to ensure drivers know what to do if it happens," Griffith said. "Transport Canada, the railways and the road authorities must work together to identify high-risk crossings, put warning signs where they're needed, and ensure drivers get the information and training they need to avoid accidents."

The final report in the investigation is available on the TSB website.