35 people died in 5 years “Dangerous railroad crossing” not taking measures 9:19 on August 9

"I think it's late after I die. I don't want anyone to die anymore."
Last June, a 29-year-old woman died in an accident at a railroad crossing. It has been over a year since the accident. The woman's husband continues to think that “the accident could have been prevented”. When I looked into it, there were accidents all over the country at the same level crossing, but there was a situation where improvement was not progressing. (Saga Broadcasting Station reporter Uchida Akihiro)

Too early parting

Miki Fukuzaki, 29 years old. I lived with my husband, Datoshi-san and a 10-month-old daughter, and just returned to work. He said that he was looking forward to the growth of his daughter.

It was June 16 last year that such happy days changed completely. When I finished my work and went to the nursery school to pick up my daughter as usual, I collided with the train at the railroad crossing. It was a greatly broken car that drove into the eyes of Mr. Ochi who rushed to the scene.

“I think it's very sad to leave your child and leave. You should definitely say you want to hold and hug, not just looking from the sky.”

Railroad crossings without alarms and breakers

I think of a railroad crossing as if a breaker comes along with the sound of an alarm. Such a level crossing is called "Type 1" level crossing.

On the other hand, the railroad crossing in Oshiro City, Saga Prefecture, where the accident occurred, was a railroad crossing called “No. 4 Alarm” and “Class 4”. Miki is thought to have passed this railroad crossing for the first time because a farm car stopped at the railroad crossing with the circuit breaker, which was usually used.

This is a double-track section that runs through limited express trains, and when there are many trains, the train passes at a pace of about 5 minutes. When we visit the site, the width of the railroad crossing is only about 2 meters and it is difficult to hold the distance to the temporary stop line because of the slope.

In addition, there were places where many electric poles standing along the track overlapped and the view was blocked, making it difficult to see the approaching train. There is a railroad crossing with an alarm at a little distance, but I felt that it could be wiped out by the sound of the car engine.

There are also local circumstances

At this level crossing, there have been three accidents involving cars and minibikes since 1997. JR Kyushu had requested that Oshiro City, which manages the road, be abolished, but no measures were taken.

There are local circumstances in the background. Rice fields are also spreading on both sides of the railroad crossing in Oshiro City, located on the west side of Saga Plain, one of Kyushu's leading granaries. Railroad crossings are indispensable for farmers to move tractors and rice planters, and for residents to come and go.

It is said that it is difficult for the city to abolish the railroad crossing without obtaining the understanding of the residents as long as there are residents using it as a living road. On the other hand, the number of users is limited, and railway companies are reluctant to install circuit breakers, which are expected to cost tens of millions of yen.

35 people died in 5 years

There are 2726 Type 4 level crossings nationwide (as of the end of 2017). According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the average number of accidents per 100 locations is as high as 1.4 times that of Type 1 on the average for the five years up to 2015. It can also be compared.

In response to a series of accidents, the National Transportation Safety Committee began investigating fatal accidents at the Type 4 level crossing in 2014 and compiled the findings in February.

Thirty-five people died in an accident that occurred in the last five years. Of these, at the railroad crossing in Fukuyama City, Hiroshima, where a girl in the 4th grade, who was riding a bicycle, died last September, several accidents occurred repeatedly at multiple railroad crossings, including a fatal accident in the previous year. It was.

The Transportation Safety Committee pointed out that there may be limits to safety measures that require only the attention of passers-by for crossing safety.

Urgent measures

In response to Miki's accident, Ogi City took urgent measures to prevent cars from passing except during the agricultural season with poles and signs. At the railroad crossing in Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture, alarms and breakers were installed in February. However, dangerous level crossings still remain throughout the country.

Professor Seiji Abe of the Faculty of Social Safety at Kansai University, who is familiar with railway safety measures, points out that the level crossings should be evaluated individually to identify those that are highly dangerous, and prioritized.

“I think that there should be some kind of improvement in a railway crossing where there is about one serious accident every five or six years. Railroad companies need to improve their facilities. If you can't abolish or abolish it, you need to do another safety measure. "

The Transport Safety Committee is also asking railroad operators and local governments to take immediate measures for high-risk railroad crossings.

I don't want anyone to die anymore

Ochi, who lost his beloved wife, continues to think that the country, local governments, and railway companies have an obligation to improve the safety of the crossings. I was interviewed this time because I wanted to prevent similar accidents by raising my voice.

"I think it's late after I die. It's safe because I'll take measures before I die. It's only difficult for the bereaved when I take measures after things happen and my life is gone. Regions, prefectures and countries I really want to be able to get involved in the safety side by enclosing it. I don't want anyone to die anymore. "

In May, there were people who visited the accident site in Ogi City. I am Reiko Kayama from Yokohama who lost her mother 14 years ago due to a railroad crossing accident.

After the mother's accident, we check the sites of various railway accidents across the country with our own eyes, and every year we conduct activities to ask the country for safety measures.

The bereaved families who continue to raise their voices in hopes that people who have the same feelings will not come out even though they have sorrow that they can not heal. I think it is necessary to take these voices and rethink the safety of railroad crossings.

Saga Broadcasting Station Karatsu Branch Reporter Uchida Akihiro

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