Level crossings are safe for responsible persons. They are fatal for the reckless ones, no matter what safety measures are applied.
Prague, 28/02/2011 – Czech Television with its news report on the level crossings in the programme „Události“ aired on 26th February 2011 mentioned or rather failed to mention some basic information concerning the safety and administration of the level crossings. The news report was edited to create a specific picture and so was the statement of the Rail Inspection CR which was presented incomplete. Therefore, the Railway Infrastructure Administration, state organization (SŽDC) must deliver its own message. Not in one single case of those accidents occurring on rail was the blame on the rail owner or operator, i.e. SŽDC.
In the first case, when two teenage boys had driven on a level crossing in May last year, the news report labelled SŽDC as the culprit. The main cause of this tragic accident presented in CT news report was determined as insufficient visibility before the level crossing. However, what was left unsaid was the immediate cause of this tragic event. Two teenage boys were driving on one bicycle whereas the driver was under the influence of psychotropics (methylamphetamin), as indicated by the expertise in the field of toxicology dated 8. 7. 2010. The Rail Inspection describes these facts in its report as the so-called contributory factors and the immediate factors in the first place refer to the insufficient visibility at the level crossing and only then not respecting the road traffic regulations. It is also surprising that SŽDC has not been given an opportunity to comment on the report of the Rail Inspection yet; the case has not been duly discussed with SŽDC but it is already been given negative coverage by the media.
Also, the second case of a tragic event, when a train hit a cyclist, was presented in the report as being caused by the rail administration. However, this accident did not occur on the level crossing as wrongly claimed in the news report! The cyclist who was in the yard at the time of train passing must be blamed for this accident. The results of the investigation clearly indicated that the cyclist was standing with his bicycle directly on the sleepers. The news report related this accident to the professional misconduct of the road administrator who stepped with a tarred part in one point into the structure gauge of the line during the road reconstruction. The state supervision was conducted in the rail matters and the protocol (SŽDC owns it) obliges the City of Rumburk to install by November 2010 a simple road barrier at the distance of 2,5 m from the track axis where the road interferes with the free passable area. This has not been achieved up to the present time.
The protocol also lays duties on SŽDC to mark the border of 2,5 m on the level crossing from the track axis, which was promptly carried out. „SŽDC´s objective was, is and will always be safe rail transport, including areas where the rail can meet the potentially biggest danger, i.e. road users“, said Ing. Pavel Habarta, MBA, SŽDC´s Executive Director. „No rail administrator can prevent a risky, reckless and dangerous behaviour, not respecting laws or road traffic regulations anywhere in the world. Only a sufficient prevention and effective repression can be helpful in this matter. The Rail Inspection should take it into consideration when releasing such statements“, added Habarta.
Pursuant to Rail Act 266/1994 Coll., as amended, the Rail Inspection of the Czech Republic can act as an independent investigator of rail accidents in the Czech Republic. We are not familiar with such details as to what extent this news report of the Czech Television was edited or to what extent the Rail Authority statement was the primary incentive. From our perspective, however, it was definitely not unbiased and independent.
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