New tunnel rules to be introduced after high death toll

 

The Swiss bus disaster which claimed 28 lives is the latest in a long list of European tunnel accidents in recent years.

Strict new EU tunnel safety rules are due to come into effect in 2014 but fears have been expressed that some tunnels will not be ready to comply.

Tests of 26 tunnels in 13 European countries in 2010 by EuroTAP (the European Tunnel Assessment Programme) showed up a number of inadequacies.

EuroTAP mentioned inadequate breathing equipment for firefighters, missing hydrants, no barriers to close the tunnel, dark tunnel walls and insufficient escape route signs.

Some of the tunnels assessed lacked appropriate lighting and in-tunnel traffic radio reception.

Paul Watters, the AA's head of roads policy, said: "Happily, most UK tunnels are quite short and have good safety records.

"The UK has done reasonably well in the EuroTAP assessments. Some of our tunnels are very old, but they are being updated. The recently-opened, mile-long Hindhead A3 tunnel in Surrey meets EU Directive standards.

"Sadly, there are a number of collisions in tunnels in Europe, but the main concern is fire."

Some of the worst European tunnel accidents have been in Switzerland. In October 2001, 11 people were killed when a head-on collision between two lorries in the Gotthard tunnel led to a fire.

Another collision in the Gotthard tunnel in August 2003, between a lorry and a car, led to the death of the car driver, with the lorry driver and the car passengers all being seriously injured.

In February 2010 there were four tunnel accidents in the Zurich area in less than two hours. In one of them, a lorry crashed into the wall of the Bubenholz tunnel. There were no serious injuries in these crashes.

Just three days after these four incidents, five people were injured when a drunken driver collided head-on with an oncoming vehicle which hit the wall of the Seelisberg tunnel near Lucerne in Switzerland.

One of the worst tunnel incidents was in March 1999 when a Belgian lorry carrying flour and margarine caught fire in the Mont Blanc tunnel on the France/Italy border. The fire was not put out until 24 hours later, by which time 39 people had lost their lives.

In October 2001, five people died and nine were injured when a lorry drove into a car in the Guldborgsund tunnel near Copenhagen.

Two people died and seven suffered smoke poisoning when a lorry carrying tyres caught fire in the Frejus tunnel between Chambery in France and Turin in Italy.

PA

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine