Truckies reminded to stay vigilant at railway crossings

In a joint effort to enhance road safety, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) have issued a crucial safety notice to help truck drivers to remain vigilant at level crossings.

The National Level Crossing Safety Notice reminds heavy vehicle drivers of the potentially life-saving safety measures they must adhere to around rail lines, said the ATA and regulator.

ATA CEO Mathew Munro said the notice was a part of a shared commitment to reducing fatalities and injuries at the more than 20,000 level crossings intersecting with roads and pathways across the country.

“Between July 1, 2014 and December 31, 2022, there were 39 lives lost and 49 serious injuries at Australia’s rail crossings,” Munro said.

“These aren’t just numbers; these are people who didn’t made it home safely to their loved ones. There have also been thousands of near misses at rail crossings.

“We’re putting out a unified reminder for truck drivers to prioritise not only their own safety, but the safety of their fellow road users and rail workers.

“There’s no room to take risks when it comes to trains.”

The notice includes reminders of dos and don’ts for drivers. Image: NHVR

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said level crossings presented unique challenges for heavy vehicles, meaning drivers needed to be aware of their surroundings and avoid any distraction when approaching rail lines.

“Trucks don’t have the same stopping time as lighter vehicles, so it’s critical all heavy vehicle drivers take extra caution around the tracks,” Petroccitto said.

“The National Level Crossing Safety Notice includes simple do’s and don’ts for drivers to remember.

“These include reducing speed and checking blind spots before crossing, adhering to any warning signs, boom gates and lights, and assessing the road condition.”

Petroccitto said it’s imperative for truck drivers not to become complacent because a momentary lapse in concentration or judgement can be fatal.

“Even with efficient braking systems, it takes a considerable amount of time for a train to stop, especially when travelling at high speeds,” he said.

“Taking a risk at a level crossing is never worth it, and by following the guidelines in the safety alert, we can collectively reduce the likelihood of tragedy occurring and ensure all road users reach their destination safely.”

Earlier this year the Australian government released a National Level Crossing Safety Strategy (NLCSS) which drew criticism from a lobby group made up of 12 families who have lost loved ones in train-related incidents.

The strategy was developed by the National Level Crossing Safety Committee, comprised of representatives from federal, state and local governments, rail industry associations and regulators; including the  NHVR.

Lara Jensen, spokeswoman for the Improve Train Lighting and Level Crossing Safety Group, said, “The strategy states that ‘heavy vehicles are over-represented in level crossing incidents, especially at passive level crossings but besides the NHVR there was no peak trucking industry body representation on the committee which should have been there from scratch – a glaring oversight at best.”

Jensen lost her youngest brother and two of his friends when their vehicle was hit by an unlit train at a passive level crossing in WA’s wheatbelt region on July 8, 2000.

1 Comment

  1. Does anyone know where all the used boom gates from Victorian suburban crossing projects went? I hope they have been used for many of these but that would make too much sense for govt desk jockeys!

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