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National Rail Safety Week hits Hamilton

27 August 2011

National Rail Safety Week hits Hamilton

The National Rail Safety Week campaign has made its way to Hamilton today with a level crossing car collision display being set up by KiwiRail at The Base shopping centre with the message ‘Stay Clear. Stay Safe’.

The nationwide safety campaign is aimed at helping raise awareness of the importance of obeying the warning signs at level crossings to combat driver and pedestrian behaviour that has led to 290 road and pedestrian level crossing collisions in the last ten years.

National Rail Safety Week is run by KiwiRail in conjunction with the Chris Cairns Foundation and was officially launched on Monday with the unveiling of a wrapped train carriage in Auckland and Wellington carrying a graphic rail safety image and the message ‘Stay Clear. Stay Safe’. The campaign has run throughout the week with a number of events and activities taking place around the country.

“National Rail Safety Week is an opportunity for all of us involved in road and rail to encourage drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to be aware of the dangers around rail tracks and level crossings,” says KiwiRail Chief executive Jim Quinn.

KiwiRail upgrades around 10 level crossings a year, but driver behaviour at level crossings shows that more lights, bells and barrier arms are not the only answer.

“Reports from our train drivers show that there have been over 150 near collisions in the past 12 months, with around 78 percent of those events occurring at crossings protected by automatic alarms,” says Mr Quinn.

“The onus is always on motorists and pedestrians to give way to trains, and they always need to obey the warning signs at level crossings.”

Hamilton and the Waikato region has a total of 54 level crossings, and over the last ten years, there have been 15 level crossing collisions.

This year’s nationwide campaign included a nationwide rail safety roadshow, a Napier school visit by Chris Cairns, Police ‘blitzes’ at level crossings, radio advertising and other promotional activities around the regions. A new website, www.railsafety.co.nz, has also been launched to raise awareness and educate the public about rail safety.

“We want to spread the rail safety message to ‘Stay Clear. Stay Safe’ far and wide,” says Mr Quinn.

ENDS

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