Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


KiwiRail alarmed at spate of near-collisions

KiwiRail and the NZ Police are alarmed at a spate of near collisions between motorists and trains at level crossings around the country and are urging drivers to obey level crossing warnings and exercise patience at level crossings.

So far this year train drivers have reported 19 ‘near collision’ incidents at level crossings in which motorists ignored level crossing safety measures and crossed in front of approaching trains. 12 of these were at crossings protected by flashing lights and bells.

In four of these incidents motorists deliberately drove around other vehicles already stopped at the crossing in order to cross and in one the motorist had to swerve to avoid the train.

In other incident a car ignored flashing lights and bells and passed just 10 metres in front of the train.

“We are horrified to think motorists would deliberately put themselves, and any passengers they may have in such grave danger,’ says KiwiRail Chief Executive Jim Quinn. “There is no journey so important that it can’t wait a couple of minutes.”

“Trains are large and heavy and can be travelling faster that they appear and simply cannot stop quickly. There is nothing our train drivers can do when confronted with a situation like this other than to sound their horn, and hope for the best. It is a very distressing situation for them.

“We urge motorists to heed the level crossing alarms, never enter a crossing if they can see a train approaching, but be patient and wait for it to pass.

National rail safety charity TrackSAFE NZ (formerly the Chris Cairns Foundation) also urges the New Zealand public to exercise caution at level crossings.

“Unfortunately if people continue to engage in the reckless and impatient behaviour that we have already seen this year, then it is only a matter of time before we potentially have another tragedy on the railway.”

Ms Drayton says the figures also show that a disproportionate 63 percent of these near collisions occurred in the South Island, with five out of the 19 occurring on the railway line between Rolleston and Greymouth, and four on the railway line between Christchurch and Invercargill.

“We urge motorists in the South Island particularly to obey the warning signs at crossings, and never take the risk of trying to beat a train across the crossing. Trains travel faster than people think and research has proven that we cannot accurately judge the speed of an approaching train,” she says.

Where train drivers are able to get the registration details of vehicles these are passed on to the Police to follow up on, and the motorist involved can be prosecuted for their actions.

Level crossing alarms and signs are there for the safety of motorists and it is a traffic offence to ignore them says Inspector Mark Stables of the NZ Police.

“All level crossings have some protection. Whether the crossing has flashing lights and bells or a Give Way or Stop sign, motorists should approach and behave at level crossings in the same way as they would a road intersection.”

In 2013 KiwiRail recorded 107 near collisions with vehicles at level crossings. 43 percent of these occurred at crossings with flashing lights and bells operating and 40 percent at crossings with half arm barriers operating. The remaining 16 percent of near collisions occurred at crossings with either a give way or stop sign.

In 2012 there were 154 near collisions reported by locomotive engineers. 83 percent of these were at crossings with active protection.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Patience: Drive Safe

Be patient before passing is the AA's message for drivers this Labour weekend.

"People taking crazy risks to get past other vehicles is one of the most dangerous things on the road,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“The weather is looking good for the long weekend so the roads will be busy. Unfortunately, that also increases the chances of people getting frustrated and trying a risky passing manoeuvre. When they get past, there will probably be more traffic up ahead anyway so it won’t get people there faster.” More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news