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Les enquêtes techniques

Saint-Denis english summary

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publié le 25 février 2020

On Saturday 21 December 2013, at 19:50, a car traveling on the road from La Courneuve to Saint-Denis (93) crossed a traffic light at the intersection with rue Voltaire, turned left and went onto the platform of the Ile-de-France tramway T1 line.
A train going in the same direction and whose signal light also authorised it to cross the intersection, hit it and pushed it against a pole supporting an overhead contact line.
There were 5 victims in this accident. In the car, a child was fatally injured and the three other passengers, two adults and a child, were seriously wounded. The tram driver suffered minor injuries.

The direct cause of the accident was the car’s entry onto the tramway platform when a tram was approaching.
Two factors contributed to the collision :

  • on the one hand, the signs and layout of the intersection that did not allow motorists to quickly and unequivocally understand that a left-hand turn was not permitted there. This prohibition could only be inferred from the presence of a single lane mark painted on the ground, indicating only the straight on direction ;
  • on the other hand, the poor use of the operator’s feedback on tramway accidents by the actors concerned, which did not make it possible to remedy this insufficient road signalling, even though it had been initially identified in 2006 following a similar injury accident and played a role in several other material accidents.
    Finally, the consequences of this accident were aggravated by the presence, in the immediate vicinity of the intersection, of a support pole for the overhead contact line (LAC), against which the car was crushed.

This analysis led BEA-TT to make four recommendations and four calls for action on the following matters :

  • the layout and signage of the intersection of the route de la Courneuve with rue Voltaire ;
  • the prevention of the risks of the outcome of collisions being worsened by fixed obstacles ;
  • feedback from tram accidents, and the participation of road managers in it.