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Reminder to stay safe around level crossings in 08

Media statement 7 January, 2008
For immediate release

Reminder to stay safe around level crossings in 2008

ONTRACK is reminding people to take care around level crossings in 2008.

Acting Chief Executive Thomas Davis said despite several tragic incidents, the total of 23 collisions in 2007 was nine lower than the 10 year average.

“Still, one collision is one too many and we would like this downward trend to continue,” Thomas Davis said.

“Following two incidents in as many days, we are reminding people to drive safely near level crossings. There are more cars on the road with the holiday season so we are warning road users to take great care around level crossings.”

Drivers should be prepared to stop every time they approach a level crossing and must obey the warning signs.

“In 2007, we worked with Toll NZ and Land Transport NZ on a rail safety awareness campaign: Tracks are for Trains. The recently established Chris Cairns Foundation is also supporting rail safety initiatives,” Thomas Davis said.

In 2007, for the first time in 10 years, there were no public pedestrian level crossing collisions. There were 23 public road level crossing collisions in 2007.

During 2007 six level crossings were upgraded with half arm barriers. In 2008, nine level crossings around the country are planned to be upgraded with either flashing lights and bells or barrier arms. This work is funded by either local roading authorities or the Government.

To be fair to communities around the country an objective system is used to prioritise level crossings for upgrade.

The decisions about which crossings to upgrade are based on criteria including the volume of road and rail traffic, the collision history of the crossing and any other relevant factors like visibility along the line.

About half of the approximately 1400 public level crossings on the rail network have electronic warnings in the form of either flashing lights and bells or barrier arms.

ENDS

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