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.