The Estonian Christmas campaign video
In Europe, level crossing accidents account for only 2% of road deaths, but the 600 people killed each year at level crossings account for a third of all rail fatalities. Almost all accidents at level crossings are due to road users failing to observe mandatory stop lights, signals and basic traffic safety rules. Most accidents involve regulars, those living near and/or making regular use of a level-crossing, as familiarity makes people less careful. In 2009, the European Commission launched the European Level Crossing Awareness Campaign to promote safe behaviour at level crossings.
In 2010, as part of campaign, the International Level Crossing Awareness Day was held on 22 June 2010. The Commission also made video material available which could be modified in each country for the national audience.
One of several Latvian videos with a rail crossing theme
The Latvians went their own way and made a whole series of commercials to encourage safe behaviour on railways. The videos, in a style which is part Trumpton, part Magic Roundabout and part Thomas the Tank Engine would seem to be targeted at a younger audience. Though young children do not drive cars the Estonians clearly intend their railways to be around for a long time to come and are taking a long-term approach to safe practice. As St. Francis Xavier once said, Give me the child until he is seven and I’ll give you the man.
The Polish campaign video pulls no punches.
Poland has 200 level crossing accidents each year causing 50 fatalities each year and is in third place in Europe after the Germans (2nd place with 66 fatalities) and Hungarians (1st place with 71 fatalities).
(With thanks to Poroznik for the link to the Latvian videos.)