Tram accident


Tram accident

collect information on any incident in a tram or a tram system.

General

Tram traffic is typically considered as environmentally friendly, efficient, comparatively safe [European Transport Safety Council: Social and economic consequences of road traffic injury in Europe, Brussels 2007.] and, after investments, is a relatively cheap way to transport passengers in cities. A tram typically travels with a relatively slow speed in cities, however, light rail vehicles may drive with a speed of 70 – 100 kilometres per hour (approx. 44 - 60 miles per hour).

Accident types

However, accidents do happen, and some accidents seem to be serious for light traffic. In tram accidents, a person may be hit by a tram, a tram can collide with another vehicle, or drive over a person. A tram can derail after a collision, in case of broken track, if any object on the rail lifts the wheel from the track, in case of junction failure, or if a tram drives with a far too high speed into a junction or curve. In some cases, a tram may even overturn.

A person may also fall from a tram or, despite safety systems, get jammed between the doors. Persons also fall on the rails while crossing them. Sometimes persons lose control of their vehicle (like a bike) when the wheels run along with the tramway tracks [Ozanne-Smith J., and Sherry K.: Bicycle related injuries. Hazard, Edition No. 6, December 1990. Victorian Injury Surveillance System. http://www.campusglobal.org/muarc/VISU/hazard/haz06.pdf, retrieved on June 26th, 2007.] . In some cultures people travel also outside the crowded trams, and are in danger of falling or being trapped between tram cars, or between a tram and any obstacle and vehicle on the road. People may also travel outside the trams for fun, for excitement, or under influence of intoxicants.

A person can also climb over a tram car, or in other ways get in the contact with the electric conductors or other electric appliances of a tram, and get an electric shock. Occasionally, when a tram is braking rapidly or collides, people may fall in a tram or hit other persons or tram structures. In traffic safety statistics, accidents at tram stops and in the vicinity are sometimes evaluated. In these accidents, passengers e.g. get hit by a car while coming out of a tram or crossing the street to the tram stop. Even .

Analysis and consequences

Very limited information on tram accidents exists in scientific literature.

In Sheffield, UK, cyclists appear to be the group at highest risk to be injured in tram accidents, followed by pedestrians and motor vehicle users [Cameron IC, Harris NJ and Kehoe NJS: Tram-related injuries in Sheffield. Injury Vol 32, Issue 4, May 2001, pp. 275-277] . In Sheffield, less than one third of casualties had a fracture, and approximately every tenth injured person had a hospital admission. In Gothenburg, a majority of 60 % of fatally injured persons were under the incluence of alcohol [Hedelin Annika, Björnstig Ulf, and Brismar, Bo: Trams – a risk factor for pedestrians. Accid. Anal. and Prev. Vol. 28, No. 6, pp. 733-738, 1996.] . In Gothenburg, the incidence of non-fatal injuries was 3 per million tramcar-kilometres, and the mortality was 0.2 per million tramcar kilometres. The most fatal tram accident in Gothenburg happened when a high-speed runaway tram hit dozens of pedestrians and several vehicles. The accident happened after a technician manually released the brakes automatically activated after a power failure.

The mortality of pedestrians hit by a tram seems to be much higher than the mortality of pedestrians hit by a s. Most of the children hit the side of the tram. In addition, 4 children were injured by a car at a tram stop. [ Unger R., Eder C., Mayr J.M., and Wernig J.: Child pedestrian injuries at tram and bus stops. Injury Vol. 33, Issue 6, pp. 485-488, July 2002.]

Despite the fact that safety measures should be taken to avoid any tram accidents, these accidents are not nearly the most typical injuries. For example, in Victoria, Australia, injuries among adults 65 years and over were investigated. While falls (3382 cases) were mentioned as the major feature of injury, two adults were hit by a car when crossing a road to a tram [Day L., Kent S., and Fildes B.: Injuries among older people. Hazard, Edition No. 19, June 1994. Victorian Injury Surveillance System, Monash University, Accident Research Centre. http://www.monash.edu.au/muarc/VISU/hazard/haz19.pdf, retrieved on June 26th, 2007.] . In Department of Forensic Medicine in Bydgoszcz, Poland, 81 autopsies were performed on persons who died in accidents involving rail-vehicles in 1992-2002. 20 % of the victims died in tram accidents, and 80 % died in train accidents. The most common reason for death was a multiorgan failure. In tram accidents, 86 % of victims were male. The victims of tram accidents did not suffer injuries of the highest severity like amputations.

In addition, some national authorities keep statistics on tramway incidents [For example, Annual Report on Railway Safety 2005. Office of Rail Regulation, London, the UK. http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/296.pdf, retrieved on July 8th, 2007.] . , which also require e.g. the collection of common safety indicator statistics from the member countries. In the EU, common safety methods (CSMs) and common safety targets (CSTs) have been set for European railways.

afety measures

Injury-reducing measures in the vehicle design and in the traffic area, especially at and near tram stops, might reduce the injuries caused by trams [Hedelin A., Bunketorp O., and Bjornstig U.: Public transport in metropolitan areas - a danger for unprotected road users. Safety Science, Vol. 40, Number 5, pp. 467-477, July 2002.] . When evaluating general traffic safety, the safety of tram lines, train and tram crossings are mentioned to be an area deserving special attention [ Irk F.: CPTED Principles for Traffic Safety. In: Proceedings, 2003 International Symposium on Technology and Society, 2003. Crime Prevention, Security and Design. ISTAS/CPTED 2003. 26-28 Sept. 2003 pp. 41-43. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/iel5/9312/29612/01344610.pdf?tp=&isnumber=&arnumber=1344610, retrieved on June 26th, 2007.] .

, and programmable logic speed controllers [Hongkong Tramways Limited: Safety and Reliability are our Top Priorities. In: The Company. http://www.hktramways.com/en/company/index.html, retrieved on July 8th, 2007.] .

s. A brush car can be used to clear the rails [Lehtikeli liukastaa ratikkakiskot. Helsingin kaupungin liikennelaitos, ajankohtaista 25.10.06. Article by Helsinki City Traffic in Finnish.] .

A quality system may guide the safety of a tram system. A tram system may have a control centre following the trams, having radio contact with the drivers, and ability to contact and guide guards, emergency dispatch centre, or repair patrols. A tram typically carries first aid kit, a radio and/or a phone, some tools, and a fire extinguisher. Basic first aid, prodromic driving manners, safety courses, and protocols to follow in an accident are taught to tram drivers.

Various cities and traffic companies have given safety and traffic instructions for passengers, pedestrian, wheelchair users, cyclists, and ) [The Department of Infrastructure, Victoria: Safe Travel. www.doi.vic.gov.au/DOI/Internet/transport.nsf/AllDocs/8F43871925BC9F24CA2570AD00834CEE?OpenDocument retrieved on July 8th, 2007.] [VicRoads: Think tram. http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home/PublicTransportAndEnvironment/PublicTransportOnRoads/TramProjects/ThinkTram/ retrieved on July 8th, 2007.] [VicRoads: Think tram projects. http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home/PublicTransportAndEnvironment/PublicTransportOnRoads/TramProjects/ThinkTram/ThinkTramProjects.htm, retrieved on July 8th, 2007.] [An Overview of Current Research Project at the Institute of Transport Studies Dept. of Civil Engineering Monash University. Paper presented at 28th CAITR on 6-8 December 2006. http://civil.eng.monash.edu.au/its/researchactivities/itsmonash_research_projects_2006.pdf, retrieved on July 8th, 2007.] .

Local tram regulations may give requirements for the passengers e.g. not to carry flammable, soiling or destructive chemicals or too space-blocking packages in trams [Portland aerial tram regulations. www.portlandtram.org/download.cfm?file=/downloads/pdf/TramregulationsfinalapprovedbyEMC.pdf, retrieved on July 8th, 2007.] . Enlightenment of children and adults can be done also by using games and test [For example, The Tracking Trains safety pages of Rail Corporation of NSW in Australia. http://www.trackingtrains.com.au/activities/safe_tracks.htm, retrieved on July 8th, 2007] .

Naturally the state of traffic legislation, traffic culture, and Tracks, junctions, trams, tram traffic lights etc. should be regularly inspected and maintained.

Rescue tactics

In a tram accident, the first mission is to prevent further accidents, and additional damage and injuries ("see an accident scene in" or fire brigade controls the traffic.

The accident scene is surveyed, and in the case of several injured persons, a triage process or other recognition of patients’ states is done. The most critically injured patients get more, faster, and better quality attention and treatment. In the case of a patient underneath a tram, lifting bags or hydraulic jacks brought by fire brigades can be used to elevate the tram and release the patient ("see lifting points in" ).

After the patients have been treated and transported, a police investigation on the scene continues. The victims and witnesses can be interviewed on the scene, or later. After investigation the vehicles which collided are allowed to be moved from the scene. In severe accidents, special traffic or accident investigation boards may analyze the accident and its consequences, and give recommendations to improve safety in traffic. After the accident, the accident scene shoulde be cleaned. The tram, the tracks and the overhead lines may need repair ("see" ).

Gallery

Tram accident scene - collision of a tram and two buses:

See also

* Tram
* Tram controls
* Tramway track
* Tram stop

References


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