Petition launched to improve level crossing safety

A petition has been launched this week calling for minimum standards for mandatory train lighting to help improve level crossing safety.

The petition was launched by Member for Durack, Melissa Price, and North West Central MLA Merome Beard, in collaboration with the Train Lighting and Passive Level Crossing Safety Group.

“The petition calls for rotating beacons on the front and sides of locomotives and rolling stock to enhance safety, especially at level crossings,” said Beard.

“I strongly encourage everyone interested in regional road and rail safety to sign the petition.”

Lara Jensen, spokesperson for the Improve Train Lighting and Passive Level Crossing Safety Group, spoke of the devastating impact of rail crashes.

She lost her youngest brother, along with two of his friends in 2000, when their vehicle was struck by an unlit train at a level crossing in WA’s wheatbelt region.

“The changes we seek are not just technical adjustments, they are necessary steps to protect lives and prevent further tragedies at our level crossings,” Jensen said.

Price also spoke of the need for these safety measures in a recent Parliamentary speech. “Eighty per cent of Australia’s 23,000 railway crossings lack warning lights,” she said.

“Between July 1, 2014, and December 31, 2022, there were 7839 near hits, 322 collisions, 39 fatalities, and 49 serious injuries at level crossings across Australia.

“These numbers are a stark reminder of the urgent need for improved safety measures.

“This is not just a regulatory issue; it is a matter of reducing preventable crashes and fatalities at railway crossings.”

Independent road and rail safety advocate Dr Brett Hughes also spoke of the importance of adequate train illumination.

“Crossing railways is more difficult than most people realise, so we need to give road users the best chance possible to cross safely,” he said.

“Flashing beacon lights help alert drivers to oncoming trains, and side lights help drivers estimate the oncoming train’s speed and distance, to gauge a safe gap to cross.”

To view or sign the petition, click here.

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