Issues Related To Rail-Road Safety
One of the major reason for sever lack of safety in Indian Railway (IR) is due to poor infrastructure and resource.
Lack of empowerment at functional level and hence less productive.
No practice of independent safety regulation by an independent agency separate from operator. Since railway board is responsible for operation, making rule as well as for regulation, their arise conflict of interest which is main hindrance for safety regulations.
Line capacity is severely constrained due to introduction of more and more train over years. Many times decision for introduction of new trains is just political, even technical and managerial issues are not tackled properly due to political pressure. Populist addition of unsustainable number of passenger train.
No technical aid is yet available on IR to run train during foggy weather which adversely affect train operation and makes more prone to accident. During foggy weather train run much below their average speed and no. of trains are cancelled due to low (↓) safety environment.
Disturbance to running due to rail/weld breakage and sabotage. In past, safety of Indian Railway was put on risk as rail tracks and station were used for protests and were damaged to put pressure on government. Train highjack is common safety concern for trains passing through naxalite area.
Necessary time for infrastructure maintenance is compromised due to constrained working during scarce maintenance time which leads to increase in causalities of Indian Railway workmen while on duty.
Due to long formation of trains running at moderately high speed 110/120 kmph, use of ICF coaches is not desirable for safety point of view.
One of the main contributor to accident on rail track is unmanned level crossing (LC). If proper safety measurement are not taken during crossing, it sometimes leads to fatal accident since train cannot stop quickly on seeing the obstruction, which is dangerous for both railway and the person crossing the track.
At manned level crossing trapping of vehicle in the crossing when gates are closed, is the main reason for accident. Even after the gates of crossing are closed vehicles like cycle, rickshaw, bike, scooter tries to pass the crossing before and after train leaves, which leads to accident.
Walking through railway line instead of using foot over bridge at station is one of the contributor of accidents at rail tracks. People who crosses the railway track at undesignated locations without proper precautions welcomes accident.
Approx. 40% of accidents are caused due to the failure of railway staff and the main reason for this failure is use of alcohol or drug when on duty which causes inattentiveness and misjudgment, disregarding signals while driving, improper warning system etc. Not only driver but carelessness of the gatekeepers due to alcohol/drug abuse while on duty can cause serious safety concern.
IR uses no. of engines with different technical specification which gives drivers hard time to adjust hence loco-pilot lacks expertise and increases response time during emergency.
Element to be considered in rail road safety law
A statutory Railway Safety Authority (RSA) & a safety architecture be formed which should be strong enough to have safety oversight on the operation mode of Indian railway without detaching safety with the railway operations.
Strengthen the Railway Safety Commission so that it can undertake meaningful regulatory inspections.
Railroad safety should be included in school curriculum.
Total elimination of all level crossing within estimated time period (5 years). To take upon such giant task a dedicated SPV should be formed. Instead of level crossing we can construct limited height subway, road under bridge, road over bridge.
Strict action should be taken against the staff member who fail in their jobs, which may or may not result in accident.
Dope test of the employees who are involved in administration of vehicle, should be conducted so as to demotivate drinking while on duty. Strict action should be taken against defaulters.
Proper railroad safety strategy should be implemented to ensure that the number of accident related to railroad issues can be reduced.
There should be suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk to the safety on a regular interval by the recommended committee which should be independent of railway lawmaker and operator. Implementation of recommendation by the committee should be ensured in specified time frame.
Stop production of ICF design coaches as they have low safety quotient and switch over to manufacture of LBH design coaches.
Either switch over to single engine or fix drivers for different so that they do not need to expertise all the engines.