(Geneva/Tallinn/Paris, 3 May 2016) IRU, the International Union of Railways (UIC) and Operation Lifesaver Estonia (OLE) published a Level Crossing Safety flyer on 3 May 2016 to raise awareness of professional drivers and reduce related accidents at this key interface between road and rail infrastructure.
Using a level crossing is safe as long as users cross properly. Nevertheless, risks still exist and the consequences of a collision between trains and commercial vehicles can be dramatic.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) 1968 Convention on Road Traffic and the Highway Code, states that “trains have priority, whilst road users and pedestrians must comply with road signs and signals in order to cross safely and consequently prevent any collision arising from misuse or inappropriate behaviour and potentially endangering train passengers, crew and other users.”
Global freight and passenger traffic, both road and rail, have increased markedly in recent decades, thereby also increasing the risks of collisions at level crossings.
This is why IRU and UIC, two worldwide road and rail associations, together with Operation Lifesaver Estonia, have joined forces to raise awareness about level crossing safety amongst transport professionals. While the flyer does not cover every situation that may arise when commercial drivers use a level crossing, it aims to make them more aware of how to avoid risks potentially leading to a collision.
President of the IRU Commission for Road Safety, Rob Aarse, said, “For true road transport professionals, every road accident is one too many. We welcome this opportunity to work together with the UIC and Operation Lifesaver Estonia in tackling the issue of level crossing safety so that we can raise awareness among drivers of potential dangers and ultimately save lives.”
UIC Director General, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, stressed, “We’ve been working for years on this risky interface, but strengthening collaboration with road organisations such as IRU is key to improving safety at level crossings at the highest level possible.”
OLE’s CEO, Tamo Vahemets, said, “I believe that these safety guidelines developed in cooperation with UIC and IRU will help professional drivers better understand the risks related to crossing railways by providing clear instructions to cross railways safely. I hope that drivers will take such guidelines seriously and follow them as safety norms.”
Beyond raising driver awareness, this cooperation will also help the three organisations enhance knowledge and safety in the design and use of level crossings.
The Level Crossing Safety flyer is currently available in English with other languages set to follow.
Notes to editors
International Union of Railways (UIC)
Based in Paris, the UIC currently groups 200 member railways from all parts of the world. Its main mission consists in promoting the development of rail transport worldwide and organising international cooperation among its members. Main projects focus on technical harmonisation and railway standards, development of freight and passenger business (including high speed), rail transport sustainability, safety and security, and training issues. The UIC maintains close cooperation links with over 50 international and professional organizations.
IRU is the world’s road transport organisation, promoting economic growth and prosperity through the sustainable mobility of people and goods. Founded in 1948, IRU works in more than 100 countries.
Operation Lifesaver Estonia (OLE)
Based in Tallinn, OLE is a non-profit organisation founded in 2004 by the initiative of AS Eesti Raudtee (Estonian Railways) with the mission to increase considerably public awareness about dangers involved in railway traffic and lawful behaviour on railway, with the purpose to reduce the number of railway incidents and people killed and injured in such accidents. OLE’s members are AS Eesti Raudtee, AS EVR Cargo, Edelaraudtee Infrastruktuuri AS and AS GoRail.
Deputy Director of Communications
International Union of Railways (UIC)
16, rue Jean Rey — F‑75015 Paris, France
Tel +33 (0)1 44 49 20 52 | Fax +33 (0)1 44 49 20 59
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