ATSB Report Shows Australian Trucking Association Should Educate Drivers on Level Crossings

Further analysis of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s (ATSB) report into a level crossing accident at Two Wells, South Australia, on 6 August 2007 clearly indicates that the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) should embark on a rigorous education campaign for its drivers on how to safely traverse railway level crossings.

The ATSB report clearly indicates that the driver of the sewage truck in this incident did not stop as is required at level crossings.

Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Rail Track Corporation, Wayne James, explained that ARTC will conduct an immediate internal inquiry into the incident, however, ATA’s statement following the release of the report was inaccurate and left out some important points.

“Of course ARTC will immediately undertake an internal investigation regarding this incident.It is disappointing, however, that the ATA has chosen to respond in a knee jerk fashion without fully understanding the incident.”

“The ATSB report clearly indicated that the driver of the sewerage truck did not stop at the level crossing as he was supposed to. Reports from locomotive drivers using ARTC lines suggest this is not uncommon for trucks,” Mr James said.

“In fact, the ATSB’s own report on level crossing accidents in general concludes;

‘While there are many underlying factors which have led to recent collisions at level crossings, almost every time the primary factor in the accident was the failure of the motorist to abide by the traffic control measures at the crossing.’

“At passive level crossings the first and most simple traffic control measure is the requirement to stop.”

“The ATA’s over the top rhetoric regarding ‘truck drivers gambling with their lives when using the Two Wells crossing’ has also been proven to be as ridiculous and as it was unwarranted.”

“The fact is that the Two Wells crossing is a private level crossing on a non-public road.  That is, regular road traffic, including trucks, would not use this crossing as it was for access to private land only.”

“Safety at level crossings is paramount for ARTC.  We regularly inspect our level crossings on public roads to ensure they are of the highest safety standard; the ATA knows this,” he said.

“With the introduction of new signal technology the ARTC has replaced numerous ‘passive’ crossings with ‘active’ crossings (bells and boom gates) across our entire network.” 

Mr James said the ATA should spend more time educating their drivers on their safety obligations when approaching level crossings rather than inaccurately commenting on ATSB reports.

ARTC would be happy to work with the ATA in providing education on how trucks should correctly and safely engage with level crossings.”

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