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Author Topic: 1 Dec 2008: Northern rail line reopens, proactive actions are needed today  (Read 2155 times)

Online ozbob

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Media Release 1 Dec 2008

Queensland:  Northern rail line reopens, proactive actions are needed today

RAIL Back On Track (http://backontrack.org) a web based community support group for rail and public transport and an advocate for public transport commuters has called for the authorities to introduce an emergency interim measure requiring all heavy vehicles to stop at all railway level crossings until 'safe' crossings can be identified and these upgraded for limited speed direct road crossing.  A temporary speed restriction has been placed around the Rungoo crossing.  What about the other rail crossings in Queensland?  Has anything really changed?

Robert Dow, Spokesman for RAIL Back On Track said:

"Vague promises of road overpasses and boom gates are not going to make safe the dangerous level crossings on our railway network now, today.  As an emergency interim measure we call on the Queensland Government to require all heavy vehicles; buses and trucks, to stop at all railway level crossings and then for drivers to look and listen for trains approaching from either direction and to cross only when it is clearly safe to do so.  This uniform requirement should remain in place until 'safe' crossings, those with active protection, fail safe signaling, and warning signs/lights 300-400 metres before the crossings as appropriate, can be identified.  These crossings should have permanent crossing road speed limits as a further layer of safety."

"Other jurisdictions implement these safety procedures as routine (1,2).  Is it not time that rail crew, passengers and road users are afforded some common sense protection?  There is a clear duty of care issue here."

"Enforcement of road rules at level crossings must become pro-active.  Cameras should be fitted on busy crossings to identify road users who flout the rules.  Substantial fines and suspensions must be put in place."

"There was a recommendation arising out of the school bus and train crash near Dalby earlier this year.  The recommendation was that all school buses be required to stop at all unprotected railway crossings (3).  Why hasn't that recommendation been put in place?"

"For other crossings not identified as 'safe' an absolute requirement for heavy vehicles to stop is essential.  Have a look at the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and their bulletin on recent level crossing crashes (4). You will then understand the urgent basis of this request."

References:

1.  http://www.dot.state.wi.us/safety/motorist/railcrossings/rules.htm
2.  http://www.landtransport.govt.nz/roadcode/about-driving/giving-way-at-railway-level-crossings.html
3.  http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/10/16/2393501.htm?site=southqld
4.  http://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/2008/pdf/rail_bulletin.pdf

Contact:

Robert Dow
Administration
admin@backontrack.org
« Last Edit: December 07, 2008, 04:48:21 PM by ozbob »
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Online ozbob

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Minister for Transport, Trade, Employment and Industrial Relations
The Honourable John Mickel
07/12/2008

Plan for cameras to keep close eye on motorists at rail level crossings

The Queensland Government is considering the introduction of cameras at selected rail level crossings as a move to further improve safety.

The move arises from a trial of closed circuit television cameras installed at a level crossing with boom gates on Brisbane's southside earlier this year.

Transport Minister John Mickel said QR would examine an expansion of the trial to other level crossings, with the possible inclusion of red light cameras to snap motorists who ignore flashing warning lights.

Mr Mickel said QR had become aware of worrying behaviour by motorists negotiating the level crossing on Boundary Road, Coopers Plains, where the closed circuit television cameras had been installed.

"Motorists were entering the crossing while the warning lights were flashing, and some ended up queuing across the crossing during peak traffic periods," he said.

"Other motorists were more determined to ignore the flashing lights and lowered boom gates, and deliberately tried to drive around them.

"In a number of cases, vehicles struck and damaged the boom gates in trying to get through the crossing.

"Cameras were installed on either side of the crossing to monitor and identify patterns of driver behaviour.

"For this particular crossing, counts of vehicles illegally entering the crossing prior to the cameras going were not performed. Anecdotally, however, the cameras have had a definite impact on drivers' behaviour, as some can see that they are being monitored.

"The camera vision is monitored at train control, which can alert train drivers to unsafe situations such as cars queued across the level crossing."

Mr Mickel said QR would consult with other agencies including police, Queensland Transport and Main Roads about the installation of the closed circuit television cameras and potentially red light cameras at other level crossings in Queensland.

"With the improvement and affordability of camera technology, there is potential to roll out closed circuit television cameras in regional Queensland, piggy-backing onto existing communications networks used for signalling and train control," he said.

"Red light cameras involve more complex technical and operational requirements, and their suitability for use at level crossings will be discussed with police. The red light cameras would enable motorists who broke the law by not stopping level crossing flashing lights to be issued with a traffic infringement notice."

Mr Mickel said QR also planned to work more closely with police to conduct blitzes at level crossing throughout the state.

Facts and research

    * Research conducted by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau shows most collisions at level crossings involving a train and road user or pedestrian happen as a result of motorist or pedestrian error.
    * More than 80 per cent of fatal accidents at railway level crossings in Australia happen in daylight, in fine weather and on straight, dry roads. The majority of all accidents occur despite warning systems being in place.
    * Of the level crossing collisions on QR tracks in the past seven years, 98 per cent of collisions were directly attributable to the road user.
    * On average in Queensland there are 17 collisions a year between road users and trains at rail level crossings,
    * In 2007-2008 there were 16 incidents with 12 of these occurring at level crossings with flashing lights, boom gates or both.

7 December 2008

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