Switch off on the beach NOT at level crossings

17 December 2014 12:12PM

KiwiRail and TrackSAFE NZ have launched a new summer rail safety campaign with a message to motorists to stay focused and always look for trains at level crossings over the holidays.

December is known as the month for family, festivity and fun.  It’s also a month that over the last ten years has seen 45 level crossing collisions.   

“Those collisions not only affected the train drivers and individuals directly involved in the incident but also their families and friends who had an unforgettable Christmas for all the wrong reasons,” says KiwiRail CEO, Peter Reidy.

“So far this year there have been 20 collisions at level crossings with five deaths and several serious injuries.  These incidents are avoidable and cause huge distress to all those involved.”

 Mr Reidy says that around half of all level crossing incidents happen at sites protected by barriers or flashing lights and bells, yet despite these measures people are still putting themselves and others at risk.

“Complacency around level crossings or ignoring safety measures like alarms and barriers can and does have devastating results.”

“I know that once you’ve left work behind for the Christmas break, the focus is to get the family to your destination so the holiday can begin and you can relax and switch off.  But it is essential to remain focused throughout the journey, to be aware of your surroundings and to stay switched on.”

KiwiRail and TrackSAFE NZ are reminding drivers to always obey the warning signs and signals located right around the national rail network and not to take risks at level crossings.

“Although you are on holiday, the trains are still busy at work.  So whilst you’re enjoying your drive taking the family on their Christmas break - don’t be distracted by the kids in the back seat, by the music on the radio or by the outstanding scenery our country offers.   Stay focused on the road, be aware around the railway track, obey the signs and make sure the lines and your exit are clear before you cross the track.”

“The safety measures at level crossing are there to protect you from trains that can’t stop suddenly and have no ability to swerve. So protect yourself, your family and stay alert,” says Mr Reidy