14 January 2020

UIC Has Published Its Annual Report On Railway Accidents — Railway Safety Achieved A Record High In 2018

Early December the International Union of Railways (UIC) published its annual report on railway accidents. UIC’s safety database has been collecting data since 2001 and currently covers 27 UIC members in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The database is managed by UIC's Safety Unit. As well as serving as a depository for statistical information on accidents, it also offers extensive insight into the causes, circumstances and consequences of accidents and aligns with the classifications and definitions used in European regulations. Rail transport is the safest mode of land transport, and is improving continuously in terms of safety. Accidents and numbers of victims reduced by almost 17% between 2013 and 2018 thanks to the efforts of the rail community to improve safety in the sector. 2018 saw a two per cent improvement compared to 2017, with a total of 1,746 significant accidents recorded. This is the lowest number of accidents observed since data collection began in 2006.

Three new members joined the UIC safety database in 2019. Regrettably, there were 2,361 accidents on these networks in 2018, bringing to 4,107 the total number of accidents recorded in the database for 2018. Causes of accidents in 2018

Seventy-four per cent of accidents were caused by trespassing on railway infrastructure, and 15% were caused by accidents at level crossings. No more than one per cent of accidents involved people being hit on a platform or falling from a train or platform. Only seven per cent of the significant accidents recorded in UIC's safety database were attributed to internal causes relating to technical or organisational failures or human factors within the rail operation system; the remaining two per cent were caused by weather and environmental conditions. The predominance of individual accidents caused by third party trespassing is exacerbated by the inclusion of new members’ data.

The UIC 2019 report on safety can be downloaded from: http://safetydb.uic.org

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