At the initiative of ELCF (European Level Crossing Forum), UIC (through ILCAD), CER, EIM, ELCF members and ILCAD partners (INFRABEL, NRIC, Operation Lifesaver Estonia, PKP PLK, RFF, ZSR, RSSB, and many others) signed the European Road Safety Charter in 2009 for a duration of 3 years. What is the European Road Safety Charter: it is an invitation by the European Commission to take concrete actions, assess results and further heighten awareness of the need to reduce traffic accidents and fatalities.
The European Road Safety Charter offers European recognition to the associations that have signed up, and also makes the traffic safety actions they wish to carry out more visible on a European level.
In the case of the railway community, whilst some companies have signed because they operate road fleets, the main reason is so that the rail sector can get closer to the road sector and raise awareness of the issues at the road/rail interface.
On 1 February 2011 the annual ERSC awards ceremony was the occasion for all types of stakeholders to exchange ideas and share knowledge on road safety-related issues. The event hosted some very prestigious speakers such as Mr Siim Kallas, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Transport, Dr. Dinesh Sethi from the World Health Organisation (who gave a presentation on the UN Road Safety Decade) and Sarah Copsey from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (OSHA).
Three workshops were held simultaneously on issues related to International road safety activities in the decade to come, Occupational road safety and ways of improving vulnerable road user safety in the city. The participation of the attendants demonstrated the willingness of various players to share best practice and to join efforts in creating safer roads.
The first key speaker of the ceremony was Mr. Enrico Grillo Pasquarelli, Director of Inland Transport, DG MOVE, European Commission. He celebrated the great efforts to raise awareness in order to continue improving Road Safety. The Road Safety Orientations policy for 2010-2020 was launched in July 2010 and sets out the main strategic guidelines to achieve the objective of halving the number of fatalities on the European Road by 2020. This means focusing not only on transport but also on education, public health, technology and infrastructure. He concluded by underlining that the European Road Safety Charter has a real impact on this objective, with more than 2000 signatories taking concrete and measurable commitments to improve Road Safety.
The International Level Crossing Awareness Day campaign (ILCAD) is a good example of awareness and education campaigns as far as level crossing safety is concerned.
Building on the successes of the 2009 and 2010 campaigns, the ILCAD (International Level Crossing Awareness Day) campaign 2011 was officially launched at the Task Force kick-off meeting held on 18 January 2011 in Brussels. The principle date around which most of the activities will occur has been fixed for 9 June 2011.
The reason this campaign exists is because when compared to other rail operational statistics, too many people die or are injured in accidents at level crossings. These however are in the majority of cases due to misuse by motorists and pedestrians whilst the popular misconception is that these fatal accidents are a railway problem. Conferences on the issue show that the only really effective way to decrease the number of accidents, short of closing all level crossings, is education, highlighting the risks and making people aware of the potential consequences if they do not follow the simple rules of the road.
Running under the slogan “Act safely at level crossings” the railway community, in conjunction with a small but rising number of road sector organisations and in conjunction with the European Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), has established the ILCAD campaign to raise awareness among road users and pedestrians of the risks at level crossings and to change their behaviour. More than 40 countries around the world have previously been involved in ILCAD. You can join free of charge as all activity is on a purely collaborative basis.
So join us and help the railway community reduce this level of operational risk that we face at the interface with the road sector.