Watch: Shocking moment where white van pulls out in front of train on Irish tracks
DRIVERS were forced to bring their trains to an emergency stop 20 times last year after incidents at railway crossings.
In one case, a lady pushing a pram was struck by a barrier as it closed, while in another, a drunk pedestrian was spotted on the tracks after ignoring a signal warning of an approaching train.
New figures from Iarnrod Eireann show there were 89 incidents last year which resulted in a vehicle, person or property being struck by a train or barrier. In 20 cases, the driver was forced to apply the emergency brakes, which are classed as category 1 incidents.
Of the 89 incidents, 61 involved vehicles and five pedestrians.
The company said of “particular concern” were incidents of “unsafe behaviour” at 149 unattended level crossings across the State.
A online information video called ‘RSA – Unattended level crossing video’ has been uploaded to YouTube to advise road users.
“In one year alone, there were almost 90 ‘near misses’ at level crossings around the country,” director of infrastructure at Iarnrod Eireann, Don Cunningham, said.
“These incidents could have had very serious consequences for the person involved, the train and its passengers, and other road-users. People simply should not take risks at level crossings.
“Unattended level crossings also pose a serious risk so it is important that road-users take responsibility for opening and closing the gates properly when passing through. If the gates are left open, another road-user might think that it is safe to cross without due care and the consequences could be very serious.”
RSA chief executive Moyagh Murdock added that the rule of thumb was to “always expect a train”.
The safety at level crossings awareness campaign also includes a national and local radio advertising campaign which will begin on Monday. A booklet, ‘Safety at Level Crossings’, can be downloaded from the RSA website.