|Driver Behavior Putting Lives at Risk|
TasRail is again urging the community to respect and obey signs and signals at level crossings, warning that lives are at risk if driver behaviour does not change.
TasRail is alarmed at the increase in the number of reported ‘near misses’ incidents at its railway level crossings. A ‘near miss’ occurs when a vehicle ignores warning signs and signals and proceeds through a level crossing in front of an on-coming train.
TasRail Chief Executive Officer, Damien White, revealed that since the 1st July 2010 there had been more than 40 reported near miss incidents on the railway network.
“Every near miss has the potential to result in serious injury or death, but each and every one of these incidents causes anxiety or trauma for our train drivers”, he said. “The statistics indicate that unless there is a change in driver behaviour at level crossings, it is only a matter of time before more deaths occur”.
Tasmania has recorded 17 level crossing collisions since 2004. Six of these occurred in the past nine months, including one fatality.
Mr White said the company was very concerned that many in the community were not heading the warning. He revealed that in the early hours of this morning, the driver of a B-double log truck ignored the warning signs and flashing lights and drove through the Lemana Road level crossing (North West Coast), narrowly escaping a collision with a fully loaded train weighing more than 1600 tonnes. “It was just pure luck that no-one was killed”, Mr White said.
“Then at 8.36am today, in peak hour traffic, the driver of a white 4WD towing a blue trailer drove in front of an oncoming train, ignoring working flashing lights and warning bells at the Lampton Avenue level crossing at Derwent Park, and again luck was the difference between a narrow miss and loss of life.
Mr White said that TasRail was committed to improving level crossing safety. Since it was established in December 2009, the company has worked constantly to implement a range of improvements including
Working with Tasmania Police to increase surveillance and enforcement
“All of the above measures help to improve level crossing safety, but at the end of the day, it is the behaviour of drivers and other road users and not engineering solutions that will have the most impact”, Mr White said.
“The message is clear – be alert, obey the warning signs and signals – STOP, LOOK, AND LIVE”.