A two-week police operation starting today will target risky driver behaviour at level crossings in the Casino-Kyogle area.
Traffic and Highway Patrol Command will conduct frequent patrols of level crossings on the Summerland Way at Casino and Wiangaree, and at Bentley Road, Kyogle.
The operation is part of an of ongoing series of safety campaigns relating to level crossings, and is a joint initiative by the NSW Police Force and Transport for NSW aiming to reduce the number of collisions on the state’s 1,400 public-level crossings.
Between 2001-02 and 2013-14, there were 118 collisions involving trains and road vehicles at level crossings throughout the state.
Further, research by the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) indicates there can be up to ten ‘near hit’ incidents involving trains and a motor vehicle, pedestrian or bicycle rider every month.
During the operation, officers will be on the look-out for dangerous motorist behaviour such as ignoring warning lights and signs, speeding near level crossings and using a mobile phone rather than concentrating on the crossing.
In 2014, NSW Police issued 442 penalty notices for level-crossing offences, an increase of 13 per cent over the previous year.
Campaign coordinator from Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, Senior Sergeant Mick Timms, said the high-visibility operation was about improving driver behaviour and saving lives.
‘Even with the inherent dangers involved, we still see a disappointing number of people ignoring safety warnings and controls at NSW level crossings,’ S/Sgt Timms said.
‘The ONRSR data indicates that there have been six near-hits on the Summerland Way sites in the past six years as well as a collision between a train and a vehicle.
‘Waiting at a level crossing only takes a few minutes out of your day but a single moment of distraction or recklessness could cost your life.
‘A red light at a level crossing is the same as a red traffic light – and failing to stop carries the same penalty – $415 and three demerit points’, he said.