Railway Safety Campaign “Know Your Opponent” Begins

On Mon­day, April 23, 2012, is launc­hed in Esto­nia the nation-wide railway safe­ty cam­paign “Know Your Oppo­nent” that calls on peo­ple to notice lar­ge vehic­les – trains and see them as stron­ger oppo­nents. The cam­paign lasts until April 29.

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”The num­ber of railway acci­dents taking place in Esto­nia is among the hig­hest in Euro­pe. This sad­dens us very much,“ said Tamo Vahe­mets, Chair­man of the Mana­ge­ment Board of NPO Ope­ra­tion Life­sa­ver Esto­nia. “Last year were regis­te­red 28 col­li­sions of trains and other vehic­les in cour­se of which got kil­led 9 per­sons. Unfor­tu­na­tely we can say that all of these inci­dents could have been pre­ven­ted if peo­ple paid more atten­tion and unders­tood bet­ter the stron­ger posi­tion of railway vehic­les — this is exact­ly what our this year’s cam­paign is focu­sing on.“

The mes­sa­ge of the railway safe­ty week “Know Your Oppo­nent” draws a paral­lel between railways and sports. “Befo­re com­pe­ti­tions all sports­men and women do their homework — they learn the strengths and weak­nes­ses of their oppo­nents. The one making the least mis­ta­kes wins. This app­lies also to traf­fic situa­tions,“ explai­ned Tamo Vahe­mets the idea of the cam­paign.  “We should unders­tand that trains have no equal oppo­nents on the ground and tho­se unde­res­ti­ma­ting trai­n’s weight and bra­king dis­tance will always lose. In the worst case he or she may lose life and cau­se life­long pain to clo­se ones.”

If today the freight trains moving around in Esto­nia can dri­ve up to 90 km/h and their total weight may reach 5500 ton­nes then the maxi­mum bra­king dis­tance of such trains can be up to 2 kilo­metres. The maxi­mum dri­ving speed of pas­sen­ger trains is cur­rent­ly 120 km/h but during the second half-year will be int­ro­duced new pas­sen­ger trains dri­ving up to 140 km/h.

“These big num­bers speak for them­sel­ves. Whi­le cros­sing railway you will win if you look, lis­ten and are awa­re of app­roac­hing trains. You should unders­tand that it does not make any sen­se to start com­pe­ting with a train,” explai­ned Vahe­mets.

Anvar Salo­mets, Depu­ty Direc­tor Gene­ral of the Esto­nian Tech­nical Sur­veil­lance Aut­ho­rity, said that in recent years the num­ber of railway acci­dents has sta­bi­li­sed whilst the num­ber of col­li­sions with road vehic­les and fata­li­ti­es has somew­hat reduced. “The­re is still no rea­son to be satis­fied with our railway safe­ty per­for­mance – until the­re occurs even one acci­dent or dies one per­son. The govern­ment and railway underta­kings have done a lot for deve­loping the tech­nical inf­rastruc­tu­re, which can now be dee­med to be suf­ficient­ly safe. It still sad­dens us that the traf­fic beha­viour of the gene­ral pub­lic has not deve­loped with the same posi­ti­ve pace. In many cases railway acci­dents are cau­sed by traf­fic regu­la­tion vio­la­tions and neg­li­gence,” added Salo­mets.

The main rea­son for tra­gic events hap­pe­ning on railways is the neg­li­gence of road users. For many road users cros­sing railway tracks has beco­me a rou­ti­ne and they do not ack­now­led­ge the pri­nci­pal rules for safe railway cros­sing,” said Tar­mo Mii­lits, Depu­ty Direc­tor Gene­ral of the Police and Boar­der Guard Board. “The police are remin­ding it to peo­ple by strengthe­ning sur­veil­lance proce­du­res on railway level cros­sings throug­hout the cam­paign week.”

The railway safe­ty week also inc­lu­des pre­sen­ta­tions in schools, cam­paign pos­ters placed in pub­lic space and a TV com­mercial. The key event of the week is the Gol­den Level Cros­sing Gates Award cere­mony taking place on April 26. During this event are recog­ni­sed the efforts of orga­ni­sa­tions and per­sons dea­ling with pub­lic railway safe­ty.

Addi­tio­nal infor­ma­tion:

Tamo Vahe­mets
Chair­man of Mana­ge­ment Board of OLE
E‑mail: tamo@operationlifesaver.eu
Tel: +372 504 5112

Cam­pain video:

Railway Safety Campaign “Know Your Opponent” - video

[download_link link=”[button link=“http://ole.ee/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/ron2012-720p-en.mp4” size=“small” variation=“red” align=“left” target=“blank”]Campaign video .mp4 [/download_link]
[download_link link=”[button link=“http://ole.ee/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/ron2012-720p-en.wmv” size=“small” variation=“red” align=“left” target=“blank”]Campaign video .wmv [/download_link]
[download_link link=”[button link=“http://ole.ee/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/ron2012-a4-en.pdf” size=“small” variation=“red” align=“left” target=“blank”]Campaign pos­ter A4 .pdf[/download_link]

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OLE (www.ole.ee) is a non-pro­fit orga­ni­sa­tion foun­ded in 2004 under the aus­pices of Esto­nian Railways. The mis­sion of the orga­ni­sa­tion is to inc­rease con­si­de­rab­ly pub­lic awa­re­ness about dan­gers pre­sent in railway trans­port and law­ful beha­viour on railways in order to reduce the num­ber of railway acci­dents and per­sons kil­led or inju­red in cour­se of such acci­dents.