9 June 2022
By Tom Collins
Iarnród Éireann highlights surge in incidents at level crossings on International Level Crossing Awareness Day – All asked to use crossings safely, with special emphasis on safe use amongst commercial road vehicle drivers this year
As railways globally mark International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD), Iarnród Éireann has highlighted a significant surge in incidents at level crossings involving road users so far this year.
To mark ILCAD 2022, Iarnród Éireann has partnered with An Garda Síochána, the Road Safety Authority and with several local authorities to host information days at a number of level crossings around the country.
The focus of these information sessions is to inform and educate commercial road users – at both urban and rural locations – about the dangers of not acting safely at level crossings. These information days will take place at:
- Barracklands Crossing, Castlebar
- Knockroghery Crossing, Roscommon
- Lansdowne Road Crossing, Dublin
Iarnród Éireann has also released footage of incidents at Level Crossings and have appealed for renewed vigilance at level crossings from all road users. Incident rates are significantly up on last year.
Year to date there have been 54 incidents at level crossings across the network this is up dramatically from 31 for the same period last year. Some of these incidents have been particularly worrying and have been widely shared on social media.
The top ten level crossings where incidents have taken place year to date are predominantly in Dublin, as well as one in Co Cork:
- Lansdowne road
- Serpentine Ave
- Sandymount Ave
- Merrion Gates
- Baldoyle Road
- Cosh (between Sutton and Howth)
- Sydney Parade
- Banteer (Cork)
International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD) is a UIC (International Railway Union) initiative to encourage members of the public to be vigilant when using level crossings to cross the railway.
There are currently 909 level crossings on the Iarnród Éireann network, a number which has reduced from over 2,000 since the turn of the century. These are a combination of automated CCTV crossings, manned crossing and unmanned user operated accommodation crossings, including on farmlands.
As part of our network wide Level crossing elimination programme, Iarnród Éireann is working to eliminate as many level crossings as practicable. The company has closed 69 level crossings between 2014 and 2022.
However, the company reminds users of the onus to use crossings responsibly:
- At automatic crossings: stop safely when the warning lights begin to flash. Never go through crossings when barriers are about to lower, or lowering.
- At staff operated crossings: respect gatekeepers, whose role is to ensure your safety and that of rail users. Stop immediately when the gatekeeper requests it.
- At user operated crossings: Always stop before crossing to check the line, check the line again after crossing, and always close the gate after use for your safety and that of others.
Almost 300 people die at level crossings across Europe every year and level crossing accidents account for 1% of road deaths in Europe but 31% of all rail fatalities. Although Ireland’s record is far stronger than the European average, and there have been no level crossing fatalities since 2010, vigilance is essential and Iarnród Éireann are bringing the message of International Level Crossing Awareness Day to Irish crossing users.
Sam Waide, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) said:
“The purpose of an awareness day for safety at level crossings is to make all road users aware of the real dangers posed due to carelessness at railway level crossings, especially when using unattended Railway Level Crossings. There really is no room for complacency when it comes to level crossings, because if you take risks at level crossings you are gambling with your life and potentially others.”
Jim Meade, Chief Executive of Iarnród Éireann said:
“The number of incidents at level crossings is still too high. In recent months, we have had a number of very worrying collisions at level crossings and we would appeal to all road users to obey the rules of the roads at level crossings. They are for everyone’s safety”