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A complex crossing design and distracted ambulance driver were contributing factors to a fatal grade crossing accident that occurred in September 2015 in Langley, British Columbia, according to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada's (TSB) just released investigation report.
On Sept. 11 2015, a CN train struck an ambulance at the Crush Crescent–Glover Road crossing in Langley. Two paramedics, including the driver, were injured. The patient who was being transported later died due to injuries sustained in the accident.
The TSB's investigation found that the ambulance entered the intersection when the crossing warning system had been activated, with the crossing bell ringing, lights flashing and gates descending. The ambulance driver intended to make a left-hand turn, but stopped on the tracks when a lowered gate for the opposite lane appeared to block the way. The TSB later determined that the lowered gate was not an impediment to the ambulance moving forward.
The complex design of the crossing — with multiple lanes, two distinct tracks close together and many different visual cues — contributed to the accident, the board found. In addition, the ambulance driver's ability to detect warning stimuli while traversing the crossing was impacted by the use of a cell phone, TSB officials said in a press release.
The board issued two rail safety advisories as a result of the investigation. The first relates to safety issues arising from conflicting information given by the crossing and road traffic signals at the Langley crossing. The second recommends that Transport Canada, the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Canadian Pacific and the township of Langley resolve jurisdictional responsibility for roadway markings at the crossing and similar crossings in the province.
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