7th of June 2012
7 June, 2012 - European day of safety at the level
crossings in Slovakia
The Railways of the
Slovak Republic (ŽSR) again in cooperation with the Ministry of Transport,
Construction and Regional Development of the Slovak republic, the Police Corps
of the Slovak republic, Railway Company Cargo Slovakia Railway Company, and
with a media partner of the project Green wave, namely the RTVS, are being jointly
involved in the European day of safety at the level crossings. This year 7th
of June 2012 is the Day of the safety at the level crossings. ŽSR are being involved in European day of safety at the level crossings
for the fourth time already.
Railways of the Slovak Republic
prepared As a main activity for this year ŽSR had prepared parallel rides of a car and a train, and then compared the differences
in the lengths of the braking distance of both – the car and the train at the
speed of 30, 50 and 80 km/h in the premises of the railway station
Žilina-Teplička. At the speed of 80 km/h the braking distance of the train will
be measured twice – first applying the standard braking and than also using the
With this demonstration ŽSR want to appeal to all road
users to reconsider their behavior when passing though the level crossing and to
realize that the train is always stronger, and even at the moment, when the
train driver in approaching train sees the car at the crossing, it is nearly
impossible with so many tonnage colossus such as train, to stop the train and
avoid collision even after using all available means. The braking distance of a
train can be up to 100m, depending on its weight and speed. Statistics shows
that the accidents at level crossings are caused by the drivers themselves,
because they are taking unnecessary risk, they putting in danger not only their
live, but also the lives of others and do not respect the rules. To think that
I can pass through a crossing, because the train is so far away, is a tragic,
and unfortunately, often repeated mistake.
Technical parameters of the
engine, which will be used for the ride:
Series HDV 110
Max. speed (km.h-1) -
Bogie wheelbase (m) –
Weight in service (t)
Total power (kW) 960
RESULT: comparation of the differences in the lengths of the braking
distances - 7th of June 2012:
At the speed 30km/h – breaking distances:
Car: 5 m
Engine: 40 m
At the speed 50km/h
– breaking distances :
Car: 10 m
Engine: 94 m
At the speed 80km/h
– breaking distances:
Car: 18 m
Engine: 236 m
This year the mascot of ŽSR for the safety at railway level crossings is again
the railwayman hedgehog - „Želko“.
ŽSR doesn’t forget about preventive
and educational activities for children and for this occasion in 2012 issued a
publication adressed to the children in kindergartens and first grade of
primary schools called Želko's
nursery. The book, designed in a colorful and
interesting way, presents to the children in a playful way the most basic
situations to be avoided when playing near the rails, travel ling by train, etc..
The main characters of the book are the railwayman hedgehog Želko and the
naughty rabbit. The publication will be distributed to children at various
events of ŽSR - educational-preventive visits and lectures for children in kindergartens
and primary schools in June 2012, but also at other events planned under the
auspices of ZSR such as Rendez, Grand Prix of the steam engines, etc.
There will be billboards placed next to the roads at
30 locations in different cities of Slovakia „It is about the life! Do not risk!“
In addition, during the month June there
will be monitoring actions undertaken at selected railway level crossings
throughout Slovakia aimed to
check the compliance with prescriptions and with the safety when passing
through level crossings.
The aim of ŽSR is to continuously prepare preventive
and safety activities for road users and provide them with information about
the rules of passing through the railway crossings and of behavior close to the
rail and in that manner to prevent accidents at level crossings. In this field
ŽSR has been trying systematically to influence the public preventively and
educationally for several years. Whether through regular involvement in the
European Day of safety, through issuing of information brochures, instructional
films, production of educational materials distributed on CDs and so on.
leVEL CROSSINGS IN SLOVAKIA
As of 1st May 2012 ŽSR recorded
the total number of 2198 crossings in
the Slovak Republic.
Out of this 1116 crossings have been
unsecured and 1082 crossings have been secured with a safety installation*.
crossings have been - according to several criteria - divided into following
· crossings provided with
mechanical barriers (without light signaling) 67
· crossings provided with mechanical
barriers (with light signaling) 5
· level crossings with the
safety installation with barriers 512
· crossings with the light
safety installation without barriers 477
The total number of secured crossings
includes 21 crossings, which are permanently locked and if necessary, they can
be opened upon request by a
Another 60 crossings for pedestrians are
also recorded as railway crossings, out of them 42 are unsecured and 18 are
secured with a safety installation.
Since the end of 2011 to 1st May 2012, there were:
crossings cancelled (Regional directorate Zvolen 10, Regional directorate
newly established – 1 crossing as apart of the investment move by city Ružomberok, at the 7
crossings as a part of the modernization process 8 crossings in total (Regional
The number of unsecured crossings has been reduced
over this period (from 31.12. 2011 to 1.5.2012) by 10 level crossings from 1126 to 1116.
In the coming future, further cancellation of level
crossings is being expected based on the decisions issued by Railway Regulatory
The method for securing the level crossing
is being assessed under precisely defined standards, depending on the type the
railway line, the road class, the intensity of road and rail transport (road momentum)
and the possibility to achieve the sight conditions. Railway Regulatory Authority issues decision on the
method of securing the level crossing based on an agreement with the relevant
authorities, including the transport police. Increasing the level of security
is also assessed due to the occurrence of accidents at level crossings and the
intensity of road transport.
In terms of the respective provision of the Act on
railways, the burden of financing the establishment, expansion or modification
of the securing method shall be carried by those, in whose interest such action
is being performed. There is a permanent effort to reduce the number of level
crossings, by cancelling or replacing them with a grade separated crossings of
roads with the railway track. Currently this is being applied only by the ŽSR, above
all when building-up the European rail corridors.
ŽSR contributes to the improvement of safety at level
crossings (depending on the track-side signaling equipment of individual lines),
also by building in the so called, „priecestník” (a signal) which indicates for driver the status of
functionality of crossing safety installation at the level crossing. Therefore
in case of failure detection, the driver will be able to adjust the speed of
the train early enough before passing through the crossing.
Surveillance at railway crossings:
All of railway crossing safety
installations are under regular surveillance by respective employees of ŽSR. If
there is a drop-out (failure) of the railway crossing safety installation,
we act operatively and such a failure is being removed within the shortest
possible response time. It has to be emphasised,
that the safety of railway traffic stays never without surveillance. If it
isn’t possible to remove the failure immediately, the train rides in adjacent
sections undergo specifically prescribed regulations. In case of any
extraordinariness a specific regime for passage of trains is being ordered,
which means that trains are passing over the crossing with a speed 10 km/h and
providing for an acoustic warning signal.
Regular inspections at railway crossings
are being carried out by ŽSR as scheduled by respective regulations in order to
avoid failures at railway crossing safety installations. Railway crossing
safety installations are under the surveillance of respective Regional directorates
in Trnava, Žilina, Zvolen and Košice. The maintenance of these installations is
being carried out by ŽSR’s technical departments.
Violations of the traffic rules:
In cooperation with the Railway police and on a regular basis ŽSR carries out a monitoring
regarding the observance of rules for passing through railway crossings by the road
users and respecting the halt command ahead of the crossing in terms of the Act
Nr. 8/2009 Col. on road traffic by the means of controls on the spot, whereby
significant violations by the drivers of road vehicles but also by the
pedestrians and bikers are being recorded. The investigations of accidents, in
which a train together with a road vehicle have been involved, often showed
that the driver passed by a whole group of waiting vehicles and entered the
crossing directly in front of a coming train (even when the railway crossing
safety installation was working properly). People often do not realise, that
the braking distance of a train can reach up to 1000 m, depending on its
weight and speed. Despite sanctions (mostly fines) from the state police the
effect of such infliction is minimal.
Another major issue pictures the vandalism, by which the level crossing safety installations are
being damaged intentionally (optics of warning signals are being destroyed,
yards broken, stands uprooted and damaged, components of safety installations
stolen, etc.). Even a small damage can cause an accident with significant
damage to the property but above all with lasting health effects or the most
tragic effect – death of innocent people.
The price for the reconstruction of a crossing depends on the number of
tracks, extent of the safety installation equipment, maintenance carried out
ahead of the crossing, extent of modifications on both sides of the crossing,
OVERVIEW OF ACCIDENTS AT LEVEL CROSSING
FOR THE PERIOD 2000 - 2011
NUMBER OF CROSSINGS
NUMBER OF ACCIDENTS
NUMBER OF FATALITIES
* Statistics as of 31.5.2012
“Act safely at level crossings!”
Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD)
(Paris, 7 June 2012): Today the
international railway community celebrates the 4th edition of the
International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD) focusing on educational
measures and the promotion of safe behaviour at and around level crossings. In
more than 42 countries a range of national events will be held jointly at
various locations with the common ILCAD message “Act safely at level crossings!”, in addition to regular activities
held throughout the year.
are undoubtedly one the safest modes of transport. But it is the interface
between road and rail, namely level crossings that represent a big operational
risk for the railways. The most logical solution would be to engineer out the
problem and remove all level crossings but it would restrict mobility in many
places. In addition building bridges or underpasses is not always possible in
built up areas; it is also very expensive (5 to 10 million EUR in Europe) and is
the result of a long process. Level crossings are also very useful to the
community and very often local authorities want to keep them.
level crossings is safe for road users and pedestrians as soon as they respect
traffic signs and signals as laid down in the Highway Code and based on the UN “Convention on
road traffic” and the “Convention on Road Signs and Signals“ both signed in Vienna in 1968 and applied
According to the
European Railway Agency (ERA) 619 accidents caused 359 fatalities in the
European Union in 2010 (831 accidents caused 405 fatalities in 2009). They
represent 30% of all railway fatalities in the EU against 1.2% road fatalities.
Therefore it is considered as a minor problem for the road but a huge problem
for the railways.
these fatal level crossing accidents, thousands of near-miss incidents occur
every day in the world that could lead to a catastrophe if they involve buses
or heavy vehicles.
98% of all accidents at level crossings (at least in Europe) are caused by
misuse of road users and pedestrians who do not respect traffic signs and
signals. These people usually live and work near level crossings.
There are several reasons why people take risks at level crossings:
(school, work, appointments) people think: ”I can make it”, ”I am not waiting
any longer”, ”It won’t happen to me”, because of familiarity: ”I cross here
several times a day”, ”I know the train timetable”,
didn’t realise”, ”I was distracted by the radio, children crying or shouting”,
use of mobile phone, use of GPS, young people wearing a headphone (becoming a
such as fatigue (professional drivers), use of drugs and/or alcohol. According
to EC figures: 20% of crashes on the roads are caused by fatigue and 25% when
driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Accidents are also caused by violation. Speeding is the highest risk
factor of collision at level crossings as well as in other road areas.
According to EC figures 30% of fatal road accidents in the EU are caused by
speeding. This is why fixed cameras, speed radars have been installed at level
crossings in some countries (U.K., France…). Zigzagging between two closed half
barriers by road users; pedestrians jumping over the barriers also represent a
high accidents risk.
Level crossing accidents have long term and
enormous human impact on the society (loss of a beloved person or family, lost
contribution to home and work productivity, quality of life, post traumatic
effects on the locomotive driver, car or train passengers, on the witnesses, on
the injured people, high medical costs..).
still regards level crossing accidents as a railway problem, despite evidence
of motorists being at fault, the impact in the media being very negative. The rail
sector alone is not able to control the high risks issued by road users and
pedestrians traversing level crossings without
the support from other key players including the road and rail sectors,
police forces, road users and those with responsibility for licensing those
users as well as pedestrians and cyclists.
Other initiatives apart from classical engineering
solutions could include innovations like alerts or locations of level crossings
on satellite navigation systems (U.K. France...), signals sent to cars at level
crossings by approaching trains (being tested in Australia).
But the core solution still remains human behaviour. That’s the reason why
the International Level Crossing Awareness Day is so important to make level crossing users aware of the dangers
they face when not respecting the traffic rules and make them aware of the
serious risks not only for themselves but also for their accompanying persons,
the railway staff members and train passengers.
Did you know?
Trains can weigh 1500 tons; the distance for
a train to stop can be 10 times higher than for a car.
When a train runs at 90 km/h, it takes 800
metres to stop (up to 1200 metres depending on the weight and speed of the
train), a car stops within 70 metres.
According to RFF: 50% of car collisions
between a train and a car lead to a fatality: 5% only when it is a “typical
4. According to the World Health Organisation traffic
accidents cost between 1 to 2% (in high income countries) of the Gross National
Product according to the country.
Since ILCAD partners have started to tackle
the level crossing safety issue through better Engineering, risk mitigation,
more Education and more Enforcement, they have been experiencing great
decreases in the number of collisions and fatalities, some examples: Operation
Lifesaver inc. U.S.A, since 1972: -84% fewer collisions; Operation Lifesaver
Canada, since 1980: -75% fewer collisions; RFF, France, since 2000: -50% fewer
collisions, REFER, Portugal, since 1999: -84% fewer collisions.
On 7 June, an
international conference will take place from 16.00 to 17.15 at RFF HQ in
Paris. Hubert du Mesnil, President of RFF and Jean-Pierre Loubinoux,
Director-General of UIC as well as international rail and road stakeholders,
behavioural experts and those involved in prevention will participate in this
official kick-off that will be broadcast live around the world. You can watch
it at the following link: http://www.securite-passageaniveau.fr/.
A press conference will be held prior to this event.
The 42 countries
involved as well as European and international rail organisations (UIC, CER,
EIM), Operation Lifesaver, the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), the
European Level Crossing Forum (ELCF), the European Railway Agency (ERA) and the
Transport Division. The Latin American Railway Association
(ALAF), the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) and the Association of
American Railroads (AAR) are actively involved in this campaign but there is
still room for many, many more.
The European Commission and UNECE have
respectively launched their Road Safety Decade pledging to reduce the number of
road accidents, fatalities and injuries in the EU and around the world. ELCF,
UIC and ILCAD partners signed the European Road Safety Charter in 2009 through
which companies, public authorities, associations and research institutions can
commit to supporting the EU to meet its road safety targets by taking concrete
steps to improve road safety and share ideas and experiences. ILCAD has also been granted the use of the logo of the UN-ECE Decade of
Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 as part of many other road safety initiatives.
UIC organised for the second time the worldwide
contest for children on level crossing safety for which we received over 400
drawings. The best drawings from different countries around the world will be
exhibited during ILCAD campaigns and other level crossing safety events.
Finally a new video has been produced for ILCAD 2012.
For more information
please visit the dedicated website www.ilcad.org and also visit http://www.securite-passageaniveau.fr/
to view the international ILCAD launch conference in streaming organised at RFF
Headquarters, our host in Paris.
Liesbeth de Jong, Media Relations: firstname.lastname@example.org and Isabelle Fonverne, email@example.com
ELCF: Alan Davies, ELCF Chairman: firstname.lastname@example.org