[image_frame style=”framed” align=”left” title=”Marek Lindmaa” height=”350″ width=”255″][/image_frame]On April 26, 2012, Operation Lifesaver Estonia organised another Golden Level Crossing Gates ceremony, recognising organisations and private persons for their input in the field of railway safety. The “Golden Level Crossing Gates” award was given to TV reporter Marek Lindmaa for his competent treatment of railway safety information on TV.
“It would be great if there were no railway accidents at all,” said Juhan Parts, Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications. “This is why we should recognize the work done for improving railway safety situation. People should be constantly reminded about the dangers related to crossing railway lines.”
“Throughout the years, Marek Lindmaa has broadcasted several news stories about railway accidents and promoted correct and lawful behaviour,” explained Tamo Vahemets, Chairman of the Management Board of NPO Operation Lifesaver Estonia. ”He always explained in detail the reasons why accidents took place. In most of the cases locomotive drivers cannot do much for preventing collisions and a large proportion of railway accidents occur by the fault of motor vehicle drivers or pedestrians violating important safety rules. Marek also gave tips about correct behaviour for avoiding accidents.”
The “Golden Level Crossing Gates” award is given to an organisation or person who is not engaged in railway safety work on a daily basis but who has contributed a great deal in achieving railway safety targets.
For their professionalism in the area of railway safety honorary medals were given to Malle Hermanson (Paide Police Department of Western Estonian Police Prefecture), Marju Tamsalu (Paide Police Department of Western Estonian Police Prefecture)), Lea Leopard (Rapla Police Department of Western Estonian Police Prefecture) and Mati Lõhmus (railway company AS EVR Infra).
The title of the “Presenter of the Year” was given to Peeter Pau from the Eastern Police Prefecture, whose railway safety presentations were attended by more than 600 pupils between the ages of 10 and 17 from Southern Estonia.
Kaido Simmermann, Chairman of the Management Board of Estonian Railways, said that it is utterly regrettable that Estonia has one of the largest numbers of railway accidents in Europe. “During the recent years, Estonian Railways has increased considerably the funds invested in enhancing railway traffic safety – we have rebuilt level and pedestrian crossings in order to make them safer, reconstructed passenger platforms and fenced dangerous track sections. Unfortunately this does not help us much if people do not change the way they think about railway safety. Improving people’s awareness is of utmost importance,” noted Simmermann. “Both OLE and all the state authorities, cooperation partners and volunteers involved are actually saving people’s lives and should thus be recognised.”
“Railway safety is not a very popular subject for the general audience but the number of people wishing to help in improving public awareness is still growing on an annual basis,” mentioned Tamo Vahemets. “Today we have around 40 people in total dealing with railway safety promotion. Last year joined us 15 volunteers, this year have joined already 8 volunteers, making railway safety presentations in kindergartens.”
In previous years, the “Golden Level Crossing Gates” award has been given to Tallinn City Government, Liivika Juksaar, Kristiine Shopping Mall, Tarmo Miilits, Western Estonian Rescue Centre, Järva County Rescue Department and Andrei Sozinov.