ILCAD 2011 in Czech republic

09.06.2011

Prague  (9 June 2011) – The investments in level crossing safety installations will increase by more than 30% in 2012 compared to 2011 and the cost will total more than CZK one billion. Almost 500 million will then be spent on repair and maintenance of level crossings. This fact was confirmed by Mr Pavel Habarta, SŽDC´s Executive Director. The trend to increase investments in the safety at level crossings will thus continue. „In this respect, we have overcome the impact of the economic crisis and we can say that the next year investments in safe road-rail crossings  will reach at least ten times the amount of the expenses from 2003, i.e. the year when our company was established,“ said Pavel Habarta.

Also, this year SŽDC joins the international campaign ILCAD (International Level Crossing Awareness Day) with a view to drawing attention to the risky behaviour of some road users at level crossings. The International Level Crossing Awareness Day falls on 9 June this year. In this context, Pavel Halla, SŽDC´s press agent noted: „In the first months of 2011 until the end of May we noticed only seven fatalities at level crossings. Compared to previous years it is a positive drop – e.g. last year 21 people were killed at level crossings during that period“. SŽDC hereby reminds that all so far registered level crossing accidents were caused by motorists or pedestrians who often did not respect even the basic safety rules and refused to accept the fact that the train is always given priority at level crossings. This rule is also stipulated in international agreements and follows the common sense of laws of physics. The train braking distance (compared to cars) is many times longer.

Pedestrians and motorists often cross the level crossings regardless the fact that the flashing lights are on and they try to drive around the gates. „The statistical figures of accident rate in relation to the signalling type demonstrate that pedestrians and drivers dramatically mostly ignore the flashing lights. This year all of the seven fatalities occurred right here,“ said Pavel Halla. From early 2010 until May 2011, 10 people were killed at level crossings equipped with warning crosses, 35 at level crossings with flashing lights and 7 at level crossings with flashing lights and gates. „People pay more attention at the level crossings equipped with warning crosses than at the level crossings with flashing lights or gates. However, the same maximum attention should also be paid to such level crossings “, added Pavel Halla.

The last tragic example of the collision between an express train and a heavy truck near Spytihněv on the line Otrokovice – Břeclav (8. 6. 2011) proved again that even professional drivers are not always familiar with traffic regulations and cannot evaluate certain situations correctly. In that particular case, the driver got on the level crossing the very moment the gates started to rise, but the red flashing lights were still on – then the gates were lowered because of another approaching train and the truck got stuck on the level crossing. Only by lucky coincidence, there were no serious injuries or casualties, just high property damage. All drivers should keep in mind that the flashing lights and the warning cross are the crucial factor for such a situation at the level crossing. The gates are only an accessory.

SŽDC is preparing a number of prevention-related events, e.g. educational efforts related to functions of relevant types of level crossing safety installations. The target group are drivers as well as other road users. SŽDC is going to continue the cooperation with the Czech Police which proved to be fruitful in the previous years. As innovation, there will be short educational video-clips focusing on the level crossings and SŽDC is going to distribute them free of charge on the internet. During summer months, leaflets describing proper behaviour at level crossings will be distributed to driving schools.


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Press release for download pdf

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