New footage of dangerous near misses at level crossings has been released to remind motorists to take extra care this National Rail Safety Week.
NSW Nationals Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said everyone had a role to play in improving rail safety, particularly at level crossings.
“The reckless behaviour by both drivers and pedestrians in this footage is very concerning – they’re not only risking their own lives, but spare a thought for the train driver, who very easily could have had his life changed forever,” Mr Toole said.
“You might think you are saving yourself some time, but as you can see in some of the security camera footage, an oncoming train with no way of stopping could be just seconds away.”
Mr Toole said safety at level crossings has and will continue to be a priority for the NSW Nationals in the state government, as part of the effort to drive the road toll towards zero.
Between July 2008 and May this year there have been 83 collisions between trains and cars at level crossings in NSW, resulting in 10 fatalities and 13 people seriously injured.
More than 30 percent occurred at locations where the speed limit was 100 km/h or greater, which is why the government has reduced speed limits to no more than 80 km/h at 28 rail level crossings in a number of regional locations including Orange, Albury, Narromine, Cootamundra and Dubbo.
Reduced speed limits will be introduced at another 82 regional locations in the coming months.
“The reduced speed limits increase safety by allowing drivers more time to react and stop, mitigating the likelihood of crashes. This is especially important for heavy vehicles, which need more time to stop due to their size,” Mr Toole said.
“These reduced speed limits will work in combination with other safety upgrades such as high intensity LED lights, bells, and retro-reflective boom gates which have been installed at 58 level crossings so far and a further 29 over the next 2 years.”
Mr Toole said Transport for NSW was also gearing up to trial a low-cost level crossing system, which will contain Grade Crossing Predictor train detection technology and active level crossing controls such as flashing lights, bells, and boom gates to further increase safety.
“There’s no doubt technology will help us drive smart solutions to improving safety at level crossings into the future, allowing us to upgrade more crossings faster, particularly in more isolated areas.
“Level crossings involve multiple levels of Government, rail managers and operators so it’s incumbent on all of us to work together to ensure everyone stays ‘rail safe’ and gets home to their loved ones safely.”
Motorists can sign up at the Safer Roads NSW website to receive updates about changes to permanent speed limits in their nominated area and to have a say on speed limits.
For more information visit: roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/stayingsafe/level-crossings.