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UNECE and Partners Launch initiative to save lives at Level Crossings

Published: 03 June 2014

Millions of near misses and over 6,000 deaths occur each year in the world at level crossings – where a road and railway tracks intersect. To raise awareness of this issue, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and partners have produced a film highlighting the dangers and suggesting some possible solutions.

The film is aimed at making the public and decision makers more aware of the dangers at level crossings in order to decrease the number of accidents and casualties around the world.  The film was produced in partnership by UNECE, the Federal Office of Transport of the Swiss Confederation (FOT) and the International Union of Railways (UIC).

“The loss of life and injury are the most alarming results we think of, but accidents between road users and trains often entail significant economic costs to railway operators, infrastructure managers, and manufacturers. Wider social impacts of level crossing crashes can also be devastating.  It is not uncommon for school buses carrying children to be hit by trains.  The deaths and injuries of youngsters from the same school may burden communities with pain and trauma for a long time” said Eva Molnar, Director of the UNECE Transport Division.

This film is being released today to coincide with the 2014 International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD). ILCAD is spearheaded by the UIC with the support of the railway community around the world to raise awareness among road users of the risks at level crossings.  In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly declared the period 2011-2020 as the Decade of Action for Road Safety.  The UNECE supports ILCAD and undertakes many activities supporting the Decade’s goal.

The film is the latest step in UNECE’s work to increase safety at level crossings.  In 2012, UNECE established the Group of Experts on Improving Safety at Level Crossings, an international platform that brings together specialists from the public and private sectors, as well as academia and independent research. The objective of the Group is to describe, assess and better understand the safety issues at level crossings and to develop a multidisciplinary strategic plan aimed at reducing the risks.

For more information on UNECE’s activities to promote road safety, please visit: http://www.unece.org/trans/main/welcwp1.html

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