Wednesday 15 December 2021

Partnership between the International Union of Railways, the International Road Federation and Operation Lifesaver Estonia to stop crashes at level crossings and save lives

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Within the framework of the second UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, the International Union of Railways (UIC) and the International Road Federation (IRF), two worldwide road and rail associations, along with Operation Lifesaver Estonia (OLE), have decided to join forces to raise awareness of level crossing safety amongst light vehicle drivers and thus contribute to the reduction of collisions and related casualties.

The three organisations have jointly developed two dedicated safety flyers – one for two-wheel light motorised vehicles and another for four-wheel light motorised vehicles. To read the press release, please click here.

  • Almost 98% of collisions at level crossings are due to failure to comply with traffic laws.
  • According to UIC, the most common types of accidents globally in 2020 involved people being hit by a train away from a level crossing (76%), followed by people being hit by a train at a level crossing (9%) and collisions with motorised road vehicles at level crossings (4%). These accounted for almost 90% of significant accidents. As has been the case throughout the history of the railways and in spite of prevention campaigns launched by railway companies, almost 90% of accidents were caused by third parties (sources: UIC safety report 2021 and UIC press release no. 16).
  • In the EU, more than half (61%) of fatalities from railway accidents in 2019 involved
    unauthorised people on the tracks and almost one third (33%) occurred at level
    crossings (source: Eurostat).
  • In recent years, one person per day has been killed and almost one seriously injured on average at level crossings (source: SAFER LC project).
  • A person or vehicle is hit by a train around every three hours in the U.S. (source: Operation Lifesaver Inc., USA).
  • 50% of collisions between a train and a car are fatal to the driver when he/she remains in the vehicle. This shows the importance of leaving the vehicle when stuck on a level crossing. To compare: 5% of road accidents are fatal. 90% of all collisions involve light vehicles (motorised and less than 3.5 t) (source: SNCF Réseau and the French road safety organisation (Securité Routière and Prévention Routière)).
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Source: UIC safety report 2021

For further information, please contact Isabelle Fonverne, Senior Safety Advisor:

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