The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has released the findings from a unique camera trial to raise awareness of the need to ‘Stand Back. Look Up. Stay Rail Safe’ as part of National Rail Safety Week.
Led by the TrackSAFE Foundation, rail operators, police, government, and community organisations unite each year to organise activities such as safety demonstrations, webinars, and virtual events, along with engaging schools and community groups to raise awareness of the importance of rail safety.
ARTC commissioned road camera technology developer Acusensus to monitor level crossings at Culcairn, Forbes, and Scone in regional New South Wales, with the trials ranging from four weeks to three months to assess driver behaviour. Each of the three designated crossing sites were controlled by “stop” signs, without boom gates.
All three sites recorded similar results with around 50% of motorists failing to fully heed the stop signs – putting lives potentially at risk.
ARTC has commissioned further trials at other sites around the state to bolster the veracity of the findings.
Peter Clements, ARTC Group Executive for Safety and Environment said:
“We manage the delivery of hundreds of freight and passenger trains across the network each day and with this comes the responsibility of making sure that these services along with the infrastructure it moves along are operating as safely and efficiently as possible.
“A fully loaded freight train can take up to two kilometres to stop after the emergency brakes are applied. This year’s Rail Safety Week campaign encourages people to ‘Stand Back. Look Up. Stay Rail Safe.’
- “Raising awareness of level crossing and trespass dangers is a particular focus this year. This includes the trauma that is caused to so many people from the fatalities and near-hits that occur on Australia’s rail network.
“Over the past six years, on average there have been 83 fatalities across all Australian rail networks. Each year there are around 1880 level crossing and trespass near-hits.
“These incidents affect many people and it’s important that we always remain sensitive to that – and at ARTC we encourage anyone to seek support if they need help.
“It is also important to educate the communities through which our network passes. Rail Safety Week gives us the opportunity to remind them that:
- Trains always have the right of way and cannot swerve or stop quickly
- Trains can take up to 14 football fields to stop
- There should always be enough space for their vehicle on the other side of a level crossing before they make the decision to cross
- A moment of distraction can change their life forever
“The last message is the one we are focusing on this year with the theme of ‘Stand Back. Look Up. Stay Rail Safe’ when you are approaching the rail network or a level crossing. Always be alert as one moment can change your life.”