Police are targeting risky driver behaviour at level crossings in support of a campaign in the state’s north.
From today (Monday 18 to Friday 29 March 2019), police from Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, and Oxley Police District, will be increasing police patrols at level crossings in the Tamworth area. The campaign, aimed at increasing public safety around level crossings in regional NSW, will take place over several phases in the state’s north until the end of the month.
This is part of an ongoing series of awareness and enforcement campaigns relating to level crossings – a joint initiative 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, those who queue over railway tracks, speed near level crossings and drivers who are distracted by illegal use of mobile phones.
Traffic and Highway Patrol Command’s Acting Assistant Commissioner, Greg Rolph, said that despite the high consequences, people are still ignoring warnings at level crossings.
“In the past month, there have been two incidents where vehicles are queuing too close to the tracks, forcing the drivers of approaching passenger trains to apply emergency brakes,” A/Assistant Commissioner Rolph said.
“In one case, a boom gate came down on the cabin of a truck and it was only good fortune that the vehicle involved was able to clear the tracks before trains appeared.”
During the past two years, police have issued almost 1000 penalty notices for level crossing traffic offences statewide.
“This is why we need to continue running these localised campaigns and reinforce our Train to Stop message to motorists at level crossings,’ A/Assistant Commissioner Rolph said.
Through the road safety campaign Towards Zero, the NSW Government is working hard to drive the road toll down by highlighting there is no acceptable number when it comes to deaths on NSW roads.
From July 2001 to June 2018 there were 144 collisions between trains and road vehicles at level crossings in NSW.
Centre for Road Safety Executive Director Bernard Carlon said from July 2001 to June 2018 there were 144 collisions between trains and road vehicles at level crossings in NSW, resulting in 11 fatalities.
“This enforcement operation is all about saving lives and preventing injuries but we need drivers to be responsible and play their part in reducing trauma at level crossings,” Mr Carlon said.
Residents living in nearby areas were informed of the enforcement period through letterbox drops. Electronic billboards are now in the areas, reminding motorists to take care at level crossings. The penalty for disobeying controls is three demerit points and a $448 fine.