Drop in road incidents at level crossings due to Covid-19 travel restrictions

Motorists warned against complacency at crossings after lockdown

There have been 35 incidents at level crossings in the Republic to date this year. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

There have been 35 incidents at level crossings in the Republic to date this year. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

 

Incidents at Irish Rail level crossings this year are down dramatically because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

To date there have been 35 incidents, mostly where cars have struck level crossings either while they were lowering or when they were down.

This compares to 155 incidents in 2019 in the Republic at 948 level crossings operated by Irish Rail.

Almost 300 people die at level crossings across Europe every year and level-crossing accidents account for 1 per cent of road deaths in Europe, but 31 per cent of all rail fatalities.

However, there has been no level-crossing fatalities since 2010 in Ireland.

Irish Rail chief executive Jim Meade asked motorists not to be complacent about the figures as the fall-off in the number of incidents is due to the lockdown over the last three months.

He said: “As we start to move around again more, I am appealing to all road users, be they motorists, pedestrians or cyclists to use level crossings safely.”

Thursday has been designated as International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD).

It is a UIC (International Railway Union) initiative to encourage members of the public to be vigilant when using level crossings.

During 2020, Iarnród Éireann is installing an additional train-detection warning system at a number of user-operated level crossings around the country. The new detection system includes a traffic light system – red if it is not safe to cross and an orange light if it is permitted to cross with caution.