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

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Regulators: Govt To ‘Crowd-Source’ Regulatory Advice

A wide-ranging set of reforms is to be implemented to shake up the way New Zealand government agencies develop, write and implement regulations. More>>

ALSO:

Board Appointments: Some Minister Appoint Less The 3 In 10 Women

“It’s 2015 not 1915: Ministers who appoint less than 3 in 10 women to their boards must do better, they have no excuse but to do better,” said Dr Blue. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The 1990s Retro Proposals For Our Health System

As we learned yesterday, the reviews propose that the democratically elected representation on DHBs should be reduced, such that community wishes will be able to be over-ridden by political appointees. In today’s revelations, the reviews also propose a return to the destructive competitive health model of the 1990s. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Cab Press Conference: Foreign Buyers Register, TPP And Serco

At a press conference today in Wellington, John Key discussed the foreign buyers register as well as the TPP and Serco. Key was questioned on whether a stamp tax might be used as a tool to deal with foreign buyers. More>>

ALSO:

Lyndon Hood Satire: Serco To Outsource Prison To Public Sector

In response to high-profile failings, multinational omnicorporation Serco will introduce public management in its prison system. Serco's New Zealand manager, speaking on condition of anonymity, has announced plans for managers from the Department of Corrections to run the Mt Eden Correctional Facility. More>>

National Party Conference: Plans To Nudge Immigrants Towards Regions

The Government will introduce a package of immigration measures aimed at improving the spread of workers, skills and investment across New Zealand, Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse says. More>>

ALSO:

Corrections: Serco Relieved Of Control At Mt Eden Prison, Retains Contract

Multi-national private prison operator Serco has been forced to hand back control of Auckland's Mt Eden remand prison to the Department of Corrections, which has used a 'step-in' clause in its contract with Serco following a string of increasingly serious allegations about contraband, prisoner injuries and a death. More>>

ALSO:

Other Experiments: Failing Charter School Stays Open 'For Kids'

Education Minister Hekia Parata says she has given Te Pumanawa o te Wairua in Northland a chance to continue operating because of her concerns about finding other educational opportunities for its students. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
More RSS  RSS News AlertsNews Alerts
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news