Tram accidents are down, and a new safety campaign will target tourists

Foreign tourists accounted for over 20% of tram–pedestrian accidents, and the city wants to reduce that number

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 11.02.2020 10:00:21 (updated on 11.02.2020) Reading time: 3 minutes

A campaign aimed at reducing accidents between pedestrians and trams in Prague seems to have been successful. This year, a new campaign will focus on making foreign tourists aware of the dangers of not paying attention while crossing tram tracks.

Last year the total number of accidents decreased by more than 17% compared to 2018 and the number of deaths decreased from eight to three people. Out of 87 pedestrians hit in 2019, the vast majority were injured lightly, and only four were seriously injured. In 2018 there were 105 accidents and 10 serious injuries.

The Prague Public Transit Company (DPP) has a long-term eminent interest in increasing the safety. DPP in cooperation with BESIP, Prague City Hall, the Czech Police, and ROPID launched an awareness campaign in March 2019 called “Don’t Jump Under the Wheel!” (Neskákej mi pod kola!).

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via Neskákej mi pod kola / facebook

DPP intends to continue the campaign, and this year it will focus mainly on foreign tourists. Foreigners have a significant long-term share in accidents. While in 2016 and 2017 it was almost the same, at 24%, in 2018 they accounted for 29% and last year 22%.

People often do not realize that a tram takes precedence at a pedestrian crossing, and, as a rail vehicle, a tram has a much larger stopping distance than a passenger car.

The safety campaigns use videos, slogans, stickers, silhouettes of victims, and an updated score of fatal accidents to help reduce both the number of deaths and the total number of injured.

“The number of deaths and the number of serious injuries has been reduced, which is a very good result and provides motivation to continue. DPP is testing anti-collision systems, and we will certainly continue to inform Prague residents, as pedestrian inattention is still the most common reason for accidents,” Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr (Praha Sobě), who is also Chairman of the Supervisory Board of DPP, said in a press release.

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Don’t jump under the wheels! via DPP

Martin Doubek, head of Technical Control at DPP, said he believed the campaign contributed to the lower accident numbers. “Undoubtedly, the campaign in its entirety got into the subconscious of people and, among other things people especially noticed the updated score on the preventive tram. Sprayed silhouettes are perceived as a perfect idea where there are crossings and places with the highest concentration of pedestrians,” Doubek said.

“With regard to the long-term significant share of foreigners in the total number of pedestrians knocked down by trams, this year we want to focus on raising awareness among foreign tourists. Although trams are common in the world’s capitals, Prague has some of the best: one of the densest tram networks in Europe, the third-largest fleet after Moscow and Budapest, and we operate 250 15T For City cars, one of the world’s quietest trams. This combination will obviously surprise many tourists,” he added.

Statistics show that children have long been more attentive and disciplined than adults. Last year there were only five children but 82 adults involved in accidents, a year earlier this ratio was nine to 93 to the detriment of adults. The average age of a person in an accident was 44.6 years. The youngest was 2 years old, the oldest 93.

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Body outline as part of the DPP safety campaign. via Raymond Johnston

The general claim that women are more attentive was confirmed. In 2019 women accounted for 41% of of pedestrians hit by trams, men 53%, and children for less than 6%. One year earlier, the results were even more favorable for women, who accounted for 37% of the total number of pedestrian injuries.

The most common cause of pedestrian collisions is inattention. The most frequent is monitoring the displays of various devices such as smartphones or e-readers while walking. Pedestrians with headphones are also an issue, as they cannot hear the tram and thus fail to respond in time.

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