Last year there were 400 near misses at Queensland Rail level crossings. The difference between a near miss and a fatality can be a fraction of a second. In some cases it is only luck that has saved a life.
In June 2012 Queensland Rail launched a hard-hitting campaign that aims to draw attention to the very grave risks and consequences of level crossings. The ‘crosses’ in the advertisements represent near misses that have occurred at level crossings, and highlights the fact the outcome of those near misses could have been dramatically different – and potentially disastrous.
Don’t gamble with your life at level crossings. Please stay aware, and follow these simple rules to protect you, your family and others:
- Pay attention to signs and signals.
- Never enter a level crossing if the red lights are flashing or the boom gates are down.
- Never queue across train tracks.
- Always look out for the second train.
- Remember that some level crossings don’t have lights or boom gates. At these crossings, always follow the traffic signs and signals before driving on.
Queensland Rail has released shocking CCTV footage to highlight the deplorable behaviour which is occurring nearly every day across our network.
Enough is enough - these terrifying examples demonstrate how close some pedestrians have come to serious injury or death.
Before you take a risk around level crossings or railway lines, take the time to think about the consequences. Don't gamble with your life at level crossings.
Level Crossing Safety
Queensland Rail’s highest priority is safety, and part of this is a key focus on level crossing safety – this is important for our customers, our employees and the communities in which we operate. There is a high risk of serious injury or death from level crossing incidents involving pedestrians or vehicles, which is why we invest heavily in education, engineering upgrades and innovations, and work closely with the police on enforcement.
The number of people who continue to risk their lives at level crossings is alarming, because any near miss is a potential fatality.
All level crossings have some form of protection, including boom gates, flashing lights or signage. It is not only an offence to ignore level crossing protection, but it is simply not worth risking your life.
As a company we are committed to doing everything possible to save lives, but pedestrians and motorists need to play their part and simply follow the rules.
Queensland Rail’s objectives towards managing level crossing risk are:
- We are committed to reducing the risks associated with level crossings where reasonably practicable to meet community expectations
- We support the strategies and initiatives of the Australian Transport Council and the Queensland Level Crossing Safety Committee
- We will be party to Safety Interface Agreements with the Department of Transport and Main Roads and local government agencies to take a holistic approach to reducing level crossing risk
- We adopt tools such as the Australian Level Crossing Assessment Model (ALCAM) to support and inform decision making processes
- We share the responsibility with road authorities to provide level crossing infrastructure that is aligned to nationally recognised standards
- We will seek to engage local planning authorities to cooperate in securing level crossing improvements in connection with new developments
- We will promote and support all campaigns which increase public awareness of the dangers at level crossings with the objective of improving driver and pedestrian behaviour
- We will encourage and support law enforcement initiatives which aim to improve driver and pedestrian behaviour at level crossings. These include prosecution of offenders who breach road rules and deterrence initiatives such as level crossing cameras, increased police presence at known trouble spots and communicating related fines and penalties
- We will actively promote, lead and participate in research projects which seek to improve level crossing safety
- We respond to changes at level crossing environments (e.g. increased railway operations or increased user frequency) and undertake new assessments, implementing actions as appropriate
- Where possible we seek to close and/or divert level crossings or enhance their safety through the provision of improved safety features/equipment
- Only in exceptional circumstances shall we permit new public crossings to be introduced onto the Queensland Rail network
- We will be a learning organisation, and will openly share our learnings with others.
Queensland Rail’s strategy for managing level crossing risk is based on seven key focus areas:
Education - educating crossing users on how to use level crossings safely and correctly, and highlighting the dangers of misuse
Enforcement - taking appropriate action to assist police in identifying those who deliberately endanger others through their actions at level crossings with a view to securing their prosecution
Engineering - requirement that all public level crossings are assessed using the ALCAM process and enhance level crossing safety through means such as closure or additional safety features
Safety Interface Agreements - develop appropriate processes that jointly manage the risks at level crossings with other crossing stakeholders, for example the Department of Transport and Main Roads and local authorities
Operational Excellence - ensuring that Queensland Rail is reviewing train operations to reduce the wait time for road users at level crossings that are closed for excessive amounts of time
Data Analysis - capture and analyse all incidents occurring at level crossings, including human factors performance and reviews
Innovation - lead and participate in continued research in this area through both internal channels and external sources such as the RailCRC.
Queensland Rail has a number of key initiatives to further reduce the likelihood of misuse at level crossings, including:
- In June 2012 Queensland Rail launched its latest public education campaign, crosses, to draw attention to the dangers and potentially serious consequences of taking risks at level crossings. The crosses campaign urges pedestrians and motorists to act safely near trains and tracks through the tagline: “Don’t gamble with your life at level crossings”
- Queensland Rail engineers have designed a new safety lock being trialled on pedestrian gates at Murarrie, Geebung, Morayfield, Woodridge and Wynnum Central to prevent people pushing through the unlocked emergency gates
- Level crossing CCTV cameras are installed at Bald Hills, Murarrie, Coopers Plains, Geebung, Coorparoo and Salisbury, as well as at regional level crossings including Cooran, Bowen, Brandon, Cluden and two locations in Cairns
- Trialling new wireless communication and radar train detection technology which could reduce the cost of providing improved level crossing safety
- Assessing and subsequently establishing a list of future crossings for upgrade to flashing lights and boom gates as funding becomes available
- Partnering with the Department of Transport and Main Roads to further enhance the introduction of safety camera technology and automatic infringement issuing
- Collaborate with the Department of Transport and Main Roads and other local authorities to complete Safety Interface Agreements.
Suncorp Safer Roads
Queensland Rail has teamed up with Suncorp in their Must have safer Queensland roads campaign to provide Queenslanders with tips to help them stay safe at level crossings. Look out for Suncorp's Safer Roads Ambassador, Craig Lowndes, providing the following tips on safe driving around level crossings:
- Never queue across train tracks. If a train comes, you’ll be stuck with nowhere to go
- Always pay attention to the signs and signals, and never enter a crossing if the red lights are flashing
- If there are no signals, treat the crossing like a junction. Slow down, have a good look around before proceeding.
Click here to view Suncorp's level crossing TV advertisements with Craig Lowndes, or find out more at suncorp.com.au/SaferRoads
Fatality Free Friday
Queensland Rail has pledged its support for Fatality Free Friday (on 31 May) as a key partner in 2013. Fatality Free Friday focuses the community on the issue of road safety and while it aims for no road deaths on 31 May, it encourages motorists to keep the message top of mind every time they get behind the wheel. Ultimately the aim is for a longer term community change.
This year’s Fatality Free Friday theme “Don’t gamble with your life at level crossings” reinforces Queensland Rail’s current safety campaign. A crash at a level crossing could have disastrous results - it’s just not worth the risk.
It’s important that the community takes action to reduce the number of fatalities on Queensland’s roads. Support Fatality Free Friday by making a commitment to drive safely - and act safely at level crossings - all year round.
For more information and to [pledge] your support visit fatalityfreefriday.com