TasRail chief slams level-crossing behaviour

Log truck near miss sparks angry response

By Rob McKay | February 17, 2011

Tasmanian truck drivers and other motorists were warned yesterday they were putting lives and freight at risk by ignoring level-crossing safety.

TasRail CEO Damien White highlighted the case of a B-double log truck that had ignored the warning signs and flashing lights early yesterday and driven through the Lemana Road level crossing on the state’s northwest coast, narrowly escaping a collision with a fully loaded train weighing more than 1,600 tonnes.

"It was just pure luck that no-one was killed," White says, adding that at 8.36am yesterday, in peak hour traffic, the driver of a white 4WD towing a blue trailer had driven in front of an oncoming train, ignoring working flashing lights and warning bells at the Lampton Avenue level crossing at Derwent Park.

"Again luck was the difference between a narrow miss and loss of life," he says.

Since last Jul, there hasbeen more than 40 reported near miss incidents on the railway network.

"Every near miss has the potential to result in serious injury or death, but each and every one of these incidents causes anxiety or trauma for our train drivers," White says.

"The statistics indicate that unless there is a change in driver behaviour at level crossings, it is only a matter of time before more deaths occur."

Tasmania has recorded 17 level crossing collisions since 2004. Six of these occurred in the past nine months, including one fatality.

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