FOLLOWING FOUR FATALITIES since 2007, 21 collisions between a train and a vehicle from 2002 to 2011 and 96 serious ‘near misses’ since 2012 at railway level crossings, a campaign has been launched to educate motorists on how to cross them safely.
There has also been 241 cases where a vehicle has been in collision with a level crossing and 86 reports of an obstruction on a crossing, however, these figures are below the European average for such incidents.
The Road Safety Authority, Iarnród Éireann and the Railway Safety Commission launched ‘Safety at Level Crossings’ earlier today aimed at making road users aware of the correct behaviour at railway crossings and the dangers posed by their misuse.
The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar said people need to take responsibility for their own actions at railway level crossings:
Your own actions at a level crossing can have a significant impact on your own welfare, and the lives of others. Something as simple as leaving a gate open at an unattended crossing can have disastrous consequences for anyone who follows.
David Franks Chief Executive of Iarnród Éireann said some people still disobey the signs and roadways markings at level crossings:
Between 2009 and June 2012 there have been 96 Category 1 ‘near misses’. This refers to incidents where the train driver made an emergency brake application in response to a hazard. It is vital that road users understand that they must approach a level crossing with care and then slow down and be prepared to stop. It is highly dangerous to zigzag around the barriers of a crossing or stop on the railway tracks.
“I would urge people to remember that you must shut and fasten the gates at level crossings after you,” said Railway Safety Commissioner Gerald Beesley. “We have had 20 incidents of a train striking a gate as a result of them being left open by a road user which creates a dangerous situation for all.”
The ‘Safety at Level Crossings’ campaign includes the publication of the new information booklet which will be available for download from the websites of the Road Safety Authority, Iarnród Éireann and the Railway Safety Commission. In addition, a new 30 second radio advertisement will air on national and local radio from today.
The section of the Rules of the Road dealing with level crossings and railway bridges has also been updated in conjunction with Iarnród Éireann and the Railway Safety Commission.