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ÖBB celebrates the International Day for Improved Safety at Railway Crossings. How does the company raise awareness and educate road users?

ÖBB celebrates the International Day for Improved Safety at Railway Crossings. How does the company raise awareness and educate road users?
photo: Fritscher/ÖBB/ÖBB celebrates the International Day for Improved Safety at Railway Crossings. How does the company raise awareness and educate road users?
09 / 06 / 2022

Today, June 9, the annual 'International Day for Safer Railway Crossings' will take place again. Although safety on the ÖBB network is increasing and the number of accidents is decreasing, there were a total of 60 collisions or accidents at railroad crossings last year, some of which unfortunately also resulted in fatalities. The decrease compared to 2020 (66 accidents) is about 10 percent, compared to 2010 (103 accidents) more than 40 percent.

Habit makes blind

The most frequent causes of accidents are carelessness and distraction on the part of road users. Habit also causes blindness: local residents who cross railroad crossings every day are particularly at risk. If drivers ignore stop signs or traffic lights with or without barriers at railroad crossings, it often ends badly. This is because trains can neither swerve nor stop in time in front of a sudden obstacle.

Bundle of measures for more safety

In order to ensure more safety for road users, ÖBB is implementing various measures:

  • the abandonment of railroad crossings
  • technical protection of railroad crossings (i.e. protection by traffic lights with or without barriers)
  • raising awareness of the possible dangers
  • red light monitoring - monitoring of the observance of red lights by road users at railroad crossings

Abandonment of railroad crossings

While there were still just over 6,000 railroad crossings in the year 2000, the number has been almost halved to 3,035 at present in the Austrian ÖBB network. On average, 25 railroad crossings are abandoned each year; last year, there were 40, which is significantly more than the long-term average. With 1,585, the majority of railroad crossings in Austria are technically secured - i.e., they are equipped with a light signal and/or barriers.

Red light monitoring is already in place at one hundred locations

Red light monitoring at railroad crossings is also playing an increasingly important role. Such systems are currently installed at 100 locations throughout Austria. The system records whether road users cross the stop line when the light signals at the railroad crossing show red. For reasons of data protection, the monitoring results remain exclusively with the police.

Raising awareness of the potential dangers at railroad crossings

In almost 99 percent of accidents, the lack of attention of road users is the problem. The braking distance of a train is ten times that of a car - sometimes even more. Therefore, stopping a train in front of an obstacle in time is usually not possible. Raising awareness, therefore, plays an important role for ÖBB:

  • On the website, ÖBB provides comprehensive information on the topic of railroad crossings, including numerous videos (crash; brake test, etc.) and a self-test "How do I behave properly at railroad crossings?".
  • Cooperation with partners such as ÖAMTC, ARBÖ, and driving schools and examiners.
  • Safety campaign Watch out for yourself
  • Poster Beware of railroad crossings at railroad stations and on P&R decks

Safety campaign: measures specifically for young people

The Watch out for yourself safety campaign is about raising awareness of possible dangers in rail traffic, and one of the topics is raising awareness of the correct behavior before railroad crossings. All the information is available at

What to do if you are trapped by the barrier?

If motorists observe the rules of the road, no dangerous situations can occur at crossings secured by barriers. However, if drivers are trapped by the barrier, the only correct reaction is to accelerate. The barrier arms are designed in such a way that they give way when driven through. Important: After driving through the barrier, the damage must be reported to the police and the motor vehicle insurance company.

More information and video at 


Source: ÖBB Press Releases