UIC annual report shows railway safety at record high in 2018

Posted: 25 November 2019 | | No comments yet

Accidents and numbers of victims has decreased by almost 17 per cent between 2013 and 2018, with a two per cent improvement from 2017, according to UIC.

Railway safety at record high in 2018 according to UIC annual report

The worldwide railway organisation, the International Union of Railways (UIC), has published its annual report on railway accidents, showing its findings that railways achieved the highest safety rate in 2018.

Between 2013 and 2018, accidents and the number of victims decreased by almost 17 per cent, a two per cent improvement compared to 2017, due to the efforts of the rail community to work to improve safety in the sector. A total of 1,746 significant accidents were recorded in 2018, the lowest number since data collection began in 2006.

UIC found that 74 per cent of accidents were caused by trespassing on railway infrastructure. The remaining causes of accidents included: 15 per cent at level crossings; seven per cent attributed to internal causes such as technical or organisational failures or human factors; two per cent caused by weather and environmental conditions; and no more than one per cent involved people being hit on a platform, or falling from a train or platform.

UIC - Causes of Accidents 2018

Credit: UIC

 The railway is vulnerable to the behaviour of people outside of the system, with third parties representing 97 per cent of the fatalities recorded in 2018.

There were 123 collisions and derailments recorded in 2018, only slightly above 2016’s historic recorded low. Only 12 accidents resulted in fatalities, with three serious accidents accounting for 82 per cent of the 118 victims.

UIC - Collisions between trains and derailments

Credit: UIC

The International Union of Railways’ safety database has been collecting data since 2001 – currently covering 27 UIC members in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East – and is managed by the organisation’s Safety Unit. The database serves as a depository for statistical information on accidents, but also offers extensive insight into the causes, circumstances, and consequences of accidents – aligning with the classifications and definitions used within European regulations. 

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