CEO of Russian Railways calls for improved safety at level crossings
Oleg Belozerov, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Russian Railways, has called for more work to prevent accidents at level crossings.
Belozerov was speaking at a meeting on Wednesday.
"It is necessary to formulate a plan with concrete measures, in conjunction with the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation, the State Traffic Safety Inspectorate and public organisations, and submit it to the Governmental Commission for Road Safety," said Oleg Belozerov. "This should be systemic work at all levels, including the regions. Perhaps it is also necessary to tighten up the responsibility of drivers and the management of road transport enterprises for Highway Code violations at level crossings. Crossings must be equipped with the most up-to-date control and warning systems, and information work has to be more intensive."
The number of accidents at level crossings remains significant.
Most cases result from drivers of road vehicles who, in violation of the Highway Code, drive onto crossings even when the automatic warning signals are operating and the barriers are down.
On 10 June 2018, for example, 15 bus passengers were injured and four of them were killed in the Orel region because the bus driver grossly violated the Highway Code when crossing the railway line.
In the first five 5 months of 2018 to the end of May, 123 collisions between trains and motor vehicles occurred at level crossings due to vehicle drivers ignoring the Highway Code, which is 3% more than during the same period in 2017.
The greatest increase in the number of accidents was registered at October Railways, which saw 15 incidents from January to May 2018, up from 13 in 2017, followed by Moscow (up from 9 to 23), South-East (up from 6 to 9), Volga (up from 4 to 6) and Sverdlovsk Railways (up from 1 to 4).
In three cases in 2018, collisions with road vehicles led to derailed trains, while almost every fifth collision involved passenger trains.
The number of casualties in the collisions decreased by 20%, falling from 77 to 62 people compared to the previous year, but the number of deaths as a result of accidents increased from 19 to 21 people, up by 11%.
According to information on violations of the Highway Code from level crossing attendants, in January-May 2018 the traffic police charged 1,587 drivers, down sharply from the figure of 5,051 in 2017 and revoked the driving licenses of 11 people, up from 6 in 2017.
To prevent accidents, Russian Railways is working to modernise level crossings and equip them with modern warning devices and barriers.
In 2018 it is planned to overhaul 128 level crossings and replace the asphalt covering on the road surface at 795 crossings.
Barriers to prevent road vehicles crossing railway lines without authorisation will be installed at 19 level crossings. Barriers are currently installed at more than 1,800 level crossings.
In addition, cameras capable of video recording violations of the Highway Code will be fitted at 127 locations in 2018.
In 2018, Russian Railways will be investing a total of 800 million roubles in order to improve the technical condition of level crossings and install equipment that will ensure an increase in the level of safety.
The Russian rail network has over 11,000 level crossings.