Rome, 3 June 2015
More accidents but fewer deaths at level crossings in Italy in 2014.
There were 16 serious accidents last year (+2.5%) causing seven victims (-1%). The overall number of accidents in 2014 reached 37 (+12%).
There were 14 serious accidents (33 overall) and 10 deaths at level crossings in 2013.
Still too many people die or are seriously injured at level crossings.
The reason? Failure to comply with the Highway Code, safety regulations and road signals at level crossings.
Accidents are almost always caused by car drivers, motorcyclists and pedestrians. Most accidents involve people who live near level crossings or use them frequently. Familiarity and habit make people more careless when crossing them.
“Improving safety at and around level crossings” is the theme of the seventh ILCAD (International Level Crossing Awareness Day) promoted by the European Commission and Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer (UIC) and starting in Istanbul today.
The 2015 edition focuses on safety for pedestrians and cyclists with one objective: to teach people the safe conduct to adopt at level crossings.
Accidents at level crossings are not the fault of the railway system but caused by people’s failure to comply with the Highway Code and a few simple, life-saving rules that may be summed up as follows:
There are still 5,010 operational level crossings on the standard network (over 16,700 km), 1,077 of which under the responsibility of private entities and management of which is the most critical.
New railway lines are now built by Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (Gruppo FS Italiane) and have no level crossings.
RFI plans to remove 110 level crossings in 2015. Works are currently in progress. The overall investment entailed is around 50 million euros.
Rete Ferroviaria Italiana abolished 84 level crossings in 2014, 52 of which under the responsibility of private entities, entailing overall investment of over 50 million euros.
The aforementioned level crossings have been replaced by subways or flyovers. Works are funded by the State through specific funds and agreed with local authorities (Regional, Provincial and Municipality Authorities) and/or entities such as ANAS (the independent national roads corporation). Further level crossings will be removed and automated as part of infrastructural and technological upgrades in every region.