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Safety First: ÖBB and Lower Austria Police Launch a New Awareness Campaign

Safety First: ÖBB and Lower Austria Police Launch a New Awareness Campaign
photo: Christopher Seif / ÖBB/Johann Pluy, ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG, and Willy Konrath, Head of the Lower Austria Transport Department
20 / 11 / 2023

To enhance safety at railway crossings, ÖBB, in collaboration with the Lower Austria State Police Department, has initiated a new awareness campaign.

This move comes in response to the 25 accidents reported in Lower Austria's railway crossings last year, some with tragic outcomes. Despite a long-term decrease in accidents, the necessity for heightened awareness and vigilance remains crucial. Johann Pluy from ÖBB-Infrastructure AG emphasized that inattention and distraction are leading causes of these incidents, particularly among residents accustomed to daily crossings. The unpredictability of train schedules, including freight and transfer journeys, adds to the risk.

Christopher Seif / ÖBB

The campaign underscores a critical safety message: red lights at crossings unequivocally signal a stop, irrespective of visible train movement or barrier positions. Willy Konrath, head of Lower Austria's State Transport Department, points out the unique challenges at railway crossings, where trains, lacking the agility of road vehicles, have significantly longer stopping distances. He advocates for the '3 A's approach: Adapted approach speed, heightened Attention, and behavior Adaptation to various safety mechanisms at crossings.

In its pursuit of increased safety, the ÖBB is implementing a comprehensive strategy. This includes phasing out certain crossings, enhancing technical security through traffic lights and barriers, conducting educational campaigns, and installing red light monitoring systems. Since 2011, the number of crossings in Lower Austria has been reduced by about 25%, demonstrating the ÖBB's commitment to minimizing risks. Additionally, almost 99% of accidents at crossings are attributed to road user inattention, underscoring the need for continuous public awareness initiatives. The effectiveness of these measures is reflected in the significant reduction of collisions by approximately 60% in Lower Austria from 2010 to 2022, indicating a positive trend towards safer rail crossings.