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New Figures On Public Level Crossing Collisions

New Figures Released On Public Level Crossing Collisions

Collisions at public railway level crossings are at their lowest for more than 15 years, according to new figures released by Tranz Rail.

In the year ending 31 December 2001, there were 24 recorded collisions between trains and road vehicles at public level crossings on the Tranz Rail network. There were no collisions at public crossings recorded in the month of December.

Tranz Rail's General Manager Health, Safety & Environment Jeff Weber says the figure is well below average. Only 1988, when there were 25 public level crossing collisions, came close to last year's figure.

"We're pleased that the trend is downward from a high level in the early 1990's but will continue to work to improve our crossings and to continue to reinforce our safety messages to the public. The message that all crossings must be treated with caution at any time of day appears to be getting through.

"In 1993 there were 48 public level crossing collisions, 42 in 1999 and 33 in 2000," Mr Weber says.

"The reduction to 24 collisions represents progress while the zero collisions in December is quite unprecedented. There are usually a higher number of collisions during November and December," Mr Weber says.

While the reasons for the decline in collisions are varied and complex, Mr Weber says it may be attributed to improvements to public level crossings made in the last five years and greater awareness of the hazards to traffic these crossings represent.

"Tranz Rail works with the key roading players to improve level crossing safety - Transfund New Zealand and Tranz Rail share the cost of improvements, Tranz Rail works with Transit New Zealand on state highway crossings and with local authorities on local road crossings. The Land Transport Safety Authority takes an active interest in safety coordination, along with the other players.

"Improved signage has been installed at public level crossings that don't have flashing lights or barriers and we've also installed 17 new half-arm barrier automatic alarm systems at crossings around the country.

Eleven of these have been placed at "collision black spot" level crossings, Mr Weber says.

"We've also installed five new flashing light and bell automatic alarm systems including four at these collision black spot level crossings.

Automatic alarm control systems have also been replaced at a further twelve level crossings throughout the country.

Transit has a programme of monitoring the skid resistance of the road surface at approaches to level crossings to maintain it at the appropriate level.

There were also a small number of collisions at level crossings on private roads last year.

"Collisions at private level crossings remind us that people who cross the railway at industrial sites or farms must take just as much care as when using public road crossings," Mr Weber says.


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