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Author Topic: 9 June 2007: Railway crossings can be made safe!  (Read 2695 times)

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9 June 2007: Railway crossings can be made safe!
« on: June 09, 2007, 05:47:10 AM »
RAIL Back On Track - Media Release 9 June 2007

Railway crossings can be made safe!

RAIL ? Back On Track (http://backontrack.org) a web based community organisation for the promotion of rail throughout Australia has expressed strong support for the Australasian Railway Association?s (http://www.ara.net.au/) calls for non technological solutions to improve rail crossing safety.

Robert Dow said:

 ?RAIL Back On Track supports the Australasian Railway Association's calls for better and more comprehensive education programs. Education programs alone won't achieve the goal of zero fatalities at level crossings, but will go a long way to improving outcomes.  A combination of education, penalties for breaches, noise strips, speed reductions on approaches to crossings, warning signs and flashing lights at 400 metres from a crossing (particularly on open roads) will all assist in achieving the goal of zero fatalities. These things can be implemented immediately.?


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Victorian Government Media Release 25th June

The Victorian Government has announced a Level crossing safety package.

The Level Crossing Safety Package will include:

? 53 Automated advance warning signs - $11.1 million

      To be installed at all 26 level crossings on Highways and a further 27 high road traffic volume sites across the state. The flashing signs will be constructed on the side of the road approximately 250 metres prior to the level crossing and will be activated automatically when a train is approaching to warn motorists well in advance of reaching the crossing.

? Installation of rumble strips at 200 crossings - $11.7 million

      Rumble strips will be installed on each side of 200 level crossings in regional Victoria and will be laid approximately 250 metres prior to the crossings. These raised road strips will physically alert motorists to upcoming level crossing signage.

? Enforcement boost

      Penalties for level crossing infringements will be toughened, rising from $177 and 3 demerit points to $430 and four demerit points. A new offence will also be introduced for speeding to beat a train, crossing tracks when lights and bells are operating, or weaving in between boomgates that are down. It will carry a fine of 30 penalty units ($3,304), 4 demerit points and automatic 3 month licence suspension.

? Don?t risk it! awareness campaign - $2 million

      The Don?t risk it! advertising campaign will be updated to incorporate new measures and laws, and will be distributed via print, radio and television and school programs.

? Line of sight improvements - $3 million

      An accelerated program of works will occur at approximately 75 level crossings to eliminate any ?line of sight? problems such as overgrown vegetation.

? Trial of compliance cameras - $1.8 million

      A trial of compliance ?red light? cameras will be undertaken at two major level crossings - one metropolitan and one regional.

The package also includes $3.6 million for program management.

Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky said the Government would also ask The Victorian Rail Crossing Safety Steering Committee, which includes experts from the Department of Infrastructure, VicRoads, VicTrack and rail operators, to research new technologies to help improve level crossing safety, particularly GPS devices and radio signalling.

Ms Kosky said the government would ask the committee to look specifically at whether in the future GPS devices in trucks could be programmed to recognise and alert drivers that they are approaching a level crossing. The government will also ask the committee to investigate if a radio transmitter at a level crossing could override a vehicle radio to warn the driver that they are approaching a crossing.

?This sort of technology is still in its infancy but we think it is worth looking closely at so that in the future we may be able to apply it to our level crossing safety program,? Ms Kosky said.

Like other states and territories, Victoria will continue to use the Australian Level Crossing Assessment Model (ALCAM) to evaluate the safety risk of each of the State?s railway crossings, determine the optimum treatment for individual sites and prioritise the works accordingly.

Ms Kosky said ALCAM would inform decisions on where to implement each of the Level Crossing Safety Package initiatives.

Ms Kosky said the tragic accident in Kerang earlier this month was a reminder to everybody of how dangerous level crossings could be.

?Unfortunately, we have witnessed the fatal consequences of collisions between a train and a motor vehicle a number of times in Victoria over the last few years,? Ms Kosky said.

?While infrastructure improvements play a role in bringing level crossings to motorists? attention, there is still a vital need to educate and remind drivers about level crossing safety.

?To do this we will build on the level crossing awareness campaign Don?t Risk It! and we will get tougher on road laws on and around level crossings. The Bracks Government is working hard to reduce the potential for accidents such as these to occur at level crossings in the future.?

Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Bob Cameron, said the Government would be working with law enforcement agencies to enforce tougher penalties on motorists who don?t comply with road laws at these intersections.

?These initiatives have proven to be successful in improving safety at road intersections and are anticipated to do the same at road-rail intersections,? Mr Cameron said.

The package of works will commence within two months, with the first installation of rumble strips and will take approximately two and half years to complete.

See http://www.dpc.vic.gov.au/pressrel  for more.
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