International Level Crossing Awareness Day 2022 will be celebrated on 9 June 2022 in Denver, USA.
International Level Crossing Awareness Day is an initiative for creating awareness for safety in level crossing. This campaign was started in 2009 by the International Union of Railways (UIC). UIC is an international Railway organisation which is supported by railway communities across the world.
Every year, around 50 countries participate in this event, where different types of level crossing safety projects and practices are shared with the prime objective of reducing accidents in level crossings worldwide.
What do the Statistics say?
International Union of Railways (UIC), in its Safety Database Report published in 2021, fatalities of over 90% in the railroading involve trespassers and level crossing users.
As per NCRB data published on 2 September 2020, there was a rapid increase in level crossing accidents from 1408 in 2018 to 1788 in 2019.
Risk Factors for Level Crossing
Level crossing fatalities are not just due to carelessness of people but also due to negligence from the concerned authorities.
Let’s discuss some of them:
- Unmanned Crossings: In other words, crossings with no barricades, no warning systems, and no graphics or signages depicting there is a level crossing ahead.
- Lack of Proper Lighting: During the nighttime, certain crossings don’t have proper lighting systems, which fail to convey to people that there is a level crossing ahead.
- Improper Barricading: For densely populated areas, people are in a rush to cross level crossing,when it is closed. This puts people’s lives in danger. Proper barricading in the level crossings can save many lives. Sometimes more than one train crosses at a time at level crossings. People who cross the barricades fail to identify the other train coming from the opposite direction posing a threat to their lives.
Measures taken to Curb Level Crossing Fatalities
Educating people regarding their safety and level crossing safety campaigns in different countries are the key steps taken by Governments.
Some important steps taken so far are as follows:
- Closing of unmanned crossings or converting them into full-fledged automated crossings.
- Improving graphics and signages of crossings so that they can be easily identified from far places.
- Improving the brightness of the crossings by fitting LED traffic lights.
- Installation of advanced technologies in the crossings to alert the people about trains which are about to approach right after the current train.
- Installation of obstacle detection technologies which are fully automated across various level crossings.
- Tighter laws and penalties for tampering with the railway infrastructure.
- In India, Indian Railways removed unmanned level crossings by constructing a flyover, subway or manning them.
With the rapid increase in the number of fatalities in level crossing, there is a need for proper preventive measures to be taken as soon as possible.
International Level Crossing Awareness Day is celebrated every year to educate people about relevant safety precautions to be taken and push concerned authorities and experts to find solutions to minimise the number of fatalities in level crossings in coming years.