Increase of drivers damaging railway crossing barriers ({{commentsTotal}})

Drivers and cyclists are increasingly ignoring barriers at railway level crossings leading to thousands of euros worth of damage and potential accidents.

ERR reported (link in Estonian) on Monday that so far this year there have been 59 incidents when there were only 68 in the whole of 2018. This increase is worrying officials and is one incident every four days.

Footage shown in a report by ETV's Aktuualne kaamera shows vehicles driving through the crossings as the barriers drop, knocking them to ground.

Estonian Railways safety manager Tarvi Viisalu says the damage is small if only the barrier is damaged, but can increase into the thousands if machinery is also broken. In extreme cases it could lead to a loss of life.

Viisalu said: "Unfortunately, it is as though the drivers at the level crossing do not see the red light as a red light, or do not consider it forbidden to cross, even when the train is approaching. The red lights start to flash but the drivers do not stop, stopping only when the barrier has physically fallen."

ERR reported the most incidents have been reported at Tondi crossing in Tallinn where it can happen several times a day. 

Over the next five years, there are plans to fit 107 railway crossing with barriers which will force drivers to stop when a train approaches, but it is not guaranteed these will completely stop accidents from occurring.

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Editor: Helen Wright



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