Local level crossings incidents could have ended in tragedy
Eight Namoi Valley kids could have been without a parent this week, had it not been for some divine intervention and pure, dumb, luck, ARTC’s Executive General Manager – Hunter Valley, Jonathan Vandervoort said today.
Mr Vandervoort made the comments as the rail industry launches its tenth annual Rail Safety Week tomorrow, aimed at highlighting the dangers presented by level crossings and poor decision making around the rail corridor.
“Over the last eighteen months there have been eight separate incidents in the region which could have easily claimed a life,” Mr Vandervoort said.
“This included three vehicles colliding with a train, and five ‘near hits’ where different vehicles, and their occupants, could have been cleaned up had there been a split second of difference.
“Each of these were entirely preventable, and the consequence of poor decision making or driver behaviour, which is just not an excuse,” Mr Vandervoort said.
“The way I look at it, we shouldn’t view these incidents as close-calls – we need to put a human face on it.
“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 often the forgotten victims,” Mr Vandervoort said.
“This is despite the fact they can be the last to see that person alive, and as a result severe trauma can occur from witnessing such an event.”
Mr Vandervoort asked motorists to be particularly mindful at the Kamilaroi Highway in Curlewis, which has had four serious incidents in recent years, including three near-hits last year alone.
Meadow Park Road, Gunnedah, a private level crossing in Breeza, and the Caroona-Breeza Road intersection also saw vehicles collide with trains in the last year.
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.
Media contact: Bas Bolyn, 0477 340 658