On 20 March 2009, Luc Aliadière, UIC Chief Executive, together with CER, EIM and ELCF (European Level Crossing Forum), signed the European Road Safety Charter at the DG TREN offices in Brussels in the presence of Enrico Grillo-Pasquarelli, Director Land Transport.
The European Road Safety Charter is an initiative of the European Commission to take concrete actions, assess results and further heighten awareness about the need to reduce traffic accident and fatalities but also to exchange good practices on traffic safety in Europe while adding a European dimension to individual or collective initiatives.
By signing the European Road Safety Charter, the UIC as well as its European partners are committing to raising the awareness of the general public of the consequences that misuse and poor behaviour at or around level crossings can result in for rail operations. Currently around 2% of all road deaths in Europe occur at level crossings. This however translates into around 30% of all rail accidents, of which some 95% of these fatalities are attributed to faults by the road vehicle driver. Despite all this, society still regards these fatal accidents unjustly as a rail problem.
Luc Aliadière recalled that: “With the signing of the European Road Safety Charter, we intend to push civil society and official bodies to recognise the critical risks at level crossings faced by the rail community and to redress the balance by recognising the bimodality of the issue and the acceptance of the road sector to share the responsibility for level crossing accidents”.
Indeed, a European Awareness Campaign is being organised by Simon Fletcher, Coordinator Europe, and the UIC team in Brussels to be held in June and which is part of this joint commitment.
The European Awareness Campaign will be a collaborative effort with all the organisations signing the Charter and will be built on existing national events which will be held consecutively at various locations in the 20 participating Member State around a common theme and branded in a unique way.