Central West NSW level crossings incidents could have claimed lives
The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has urged Central West motorists to take extra caution around level crossings after a review of recent incidents highlighted it was a bad year for near hits around the region.
ARTC’s Executive General Manager – Interstate, Peter Winder, said the launch of the tenth annual Rail Safety Week (10-16 August) served as an important reminder of the potential tragedy that lies in each and every ‘near hit’ event.
“The industry is committed to highlighting and educating about the dangers presented by level crossings,” Mr Winder said.
Mr Winder said had things happened any differently at locations around Parkes, Forbes and Bogan Gate, we might well be talking about 11 different families without a parent, child or sibling sitting at the dinner table this week.
“Each of these incidents were entirely preventable, and the consequence of poor decision making or driver behaviour, which is just not an excuse.
“We shouldn’t look at these incidents as close-calls and then brush them aside as lucky escapes, we need to put a human face on it,” Mr Winder said.
“And that’s not only of the children, friends and family of those devastated by a loved one being lost or severely injured in an avoidable incident with a train, but the subsequent impact it has on train crew, first responders, and other scene attendants.
“Train drivers and rail employees who experience an incident – are the forgotten victims -despite the fact they are often the last to see that person alive, and for them, severe trauma can result from witnessing such an event.”
ARTC will be partnering with Transport for NSW at next week’s AgQuip field days in Gunnedah (21-23 August) to share the level crossing safety message, as part of Transport for NSW’s Pearly Gates level crossing education campaign.
ARTC figures over the last five years show level crossing incidents are more likely to occur in regional areas than metropolitan, with 82 per cent of collisions and 76 per cent of reported near hits occurring in a rural location.
Media contact: Bas Bolyn, 0477 340 658