Prague's transit company to launch anti-accident campaign

Pedestrians looking at their mobile phones have been stepping in front of trams

There has been a large increase in the number of accidents involving pedestrians and trams. There were five accidents in May, a record for a 10 day period and also equal to what usually takes place for an entire year.

The DPP is launching an awareness campaign to remind people that they have to watch out for trams.

The situation is usually caused by a distracted pedestrian who is looking at a mobile phone or listening to music over headphones stepping in front of a tram. The tram driver has only a fraction of a second to react, and the tram often cannot stop in time due to the braking distance needed, according to Martin Doubek, head of the Technical Inspection Department of the Prague Public Transit Company (DPP).

Distracted people walking in front of trams is now an almost daily occurrence, he added.

The awareness campaign will hopefully get people to pay more attention to the dangers of tram tracks.

“People do not realize the risks and dangers. We do not intend to scare people, instead, we want to remind them that a tram is something they should have due respect for,” Doubek told daily Metro.

He added that while trams have been going through Prague for decades, it is only recently that people have been ignoring them.

“When I see the tracks, I look to the right and the left. I'm afraid that many people do not follow these customs anymore today. Even me, when I look at my mobile while walking, I think rationally and perceive the danger. We would like pedestrians to learn this again in Prague,” he added.

One accident in May took place at IP Pavlova, when two people around 60 years of age were injured when they walked in front of a tram crossing against the light. The conditions at that location require 43 meters for a tram to stop.

Three days later, 80-year-old woman was hit in Vršovice, and had injuries to the head and foot.

These are two of the recent incidents.

The majority of tram accidents involving pedestrians are not deadly. However, if an injury occurs the tram is taken out of service and there is an investigation. Forensic experts, union officials, the driver and transit company participate.

The Prague tramway network is the largest in the Czech Republic, with over 140 km of track, Over 930 trams use 21 daytime routes and nine-night routes with a total route length of 518 km, according to the DPP website.

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