Risky driver behaviour at level crossings will be targeted by police in support of an awareness campaign in the state’s Central West.
From today (Monday 20 June 2022) to Thursday (30 June 2022), police from the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command will increase patrols at level crossings in the Weedallion, Milvale, Quandialla and Caragabal areas.
The campaign is aimed at increasing public safety and awareness around rail level crossings in regional NSW – part of an ongoing series of enforcement campaigns between the NSW Police Force and the NSW Centre for Road Safety at Transport for NSW.
During the campaign police will be on the look-out for motorists disobeying level crossing flashing lights and stop signs, vehicles queuing over the railway tracks, speeding near level crossings, and drivers who are distracted by illegal use of mobile phones.
Traffic and Highway Patrol, Peel Sector Manager, Inspector Kelly Wixx, said that despite the potentially fatal consequences, people are still ignoring warnings at level crossings.
“Motorists are urged not to be complacent as trains can come from any direction, at any time, and there can be multiple trains on tracks that can travel at speed of up to 160km/h,” she said.
“Some trains can take more than a kilometre to come to a complete stop, so even if they see you, they can’t stop.
“Disobeying level crossing warning lights and signs can lead to crashes between vehicles and trains where the consequences can be deadly”.
Inspector Wixx said there is no excuse for putting lives on the line by rushing to the other side.
“This is why we need to continue raising awareness and reinforce our ‘Train to Stop’ message to motorists at level crossings,” she said.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Police Paul Toole said crashes at level crossings can have devastating impacts on families and local communities.
“A split second decision at a level crossing can have life changing consequences, so paying attention to your surroundings and obeying the crossing signals is crucial,” Mr Toole said.
“Throughout the operation, our police will have a visible presence at level crossings across the Central West to remind motorists to take extra care.”
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said there are more than 2,700 road level crossings on operational lines on the state’s rail network, and of those, 1,360 are on public roads with majority being in regional NSW.
“Level crossings are a part of life for motorists in regional NSW,” Mr Farraway said.
“With more than 30 trains a day passing through some level crossings, it’s very important for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists to be patient and pay attention to the signs, flashing lights, boom gates and road markings.
“I implore those who decide to race a train, think about the first responders, the train drivers, and the local community, before engaging in that type of behaviour.
“Any death on a level crossing is a tragedy and we are working hard to ensure all road users arrive at their destination safely which is why Transport for NSW is partnering with NSW Police in this important campaign.
“Additionally, over 50 level crossings controlled by boom gates and flashing lights across regional NSW have now had the road speed reduced to 80km/h or less as part of our Level Crossing Speed Zone Reduction Program.
“We know, a lot of crashes at level crossings occur where the road speed limit is 100km/h or greater, so reducing the speed limit gives drivers more time to see and stop for oncoming trains at level crossings.
“We all need to look out for each other to ensure we reach our destination safely.”
Between 2008 and 2021 there have been 84 collisions between trains and cars at level crossings in NSW, resulting in ten people losing their lives and 15 suffering injuries – all of which could have been avoided.
The penalty for disobeying controls is three demerit points and a $469 fine.