Safety, Transport Industry News

NHVR and ATA call for truckies to stay aware of level crossing safety

Level crossing safety

Industry bodies the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) have issued a joint notice to truckies regarding rail level crossing safety.

Known as the National Level Crossing Safety Notice, it offers concise advice and safety tips for truckies regularly travelling through level crossings, particularly on rural roads where many are without boom gates.

With more than 20,000 level crossings intersecting Australian roads across the country, ATA CEO Mathew Munro says everyone must stay vigilant to reduce fatalities and injuries at level crossings.

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

“These aren’t just numbers; these are people who didn’t make 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 the dos and don’ts around trains, including considerations for auditory and visual warnings at level crossings as well as challenges caused by weather.

These are particularly relevant for heavy vehicle drivers behind the wheels of vehicles that require a significant amount of time to pass level crossings due to their length.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says truckies need to stay aware of these factors around level crossings.

“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,” he says.

“The National Level Crossing Safety Notice includes simple dos 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.

“It’s imperative for truck drivers not to become complacent; 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.

“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.”

You can view the National Level Crossing Safety Notice here.

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