Safety first at level crossings as harvest season begins

Transport for NSW is reminding regional road users to be alert around level crossings over the coming months, as harvest season gets underway officially.

“Grain harvest season in NSW starts in the state’s north in October and extends south until early 2016.

“There is increased truck and farming machinery on our roads moving produce to where it needs to go during this period,” Acting Executive Director, Centre for Road Safety, Bernard Carlon said.

“It’s around this time of year when grain trains will be operating on lines that see little or no traffic for much of the year, so motorists will have to be extra cautious,” Mr Carlon said.

The longer working hours during harvest season increase the chances of fatigue, one of the biggest killers on our roads.

“Fatigue is a common factor in rural crashes, so drivers need to plan their rest and be aware of any signs that they might be tired,” Mr Carlon said.

“Heavy and long vehicles require longer distances to slow down – some trains can take up to 14 rugby fields to stop and can’t swerve to avoid a pedestrian or a motorist who has ignored the level crossing controls, so we need all road users to pay attention and obey the rules,” Mr Carlon said.

“Between 2001/02 and 2014/15, there were 122 collisions involving trains and road vehicles at level crossings throughout the state.

“Collisions between trains and road vehicles are often catastrophic, but we still see too many motorists taking risks.”

Transport for NSW takes an active approach to improving level crossing safety, allocating $29.2 million – $7.3 million a year – for the Level Crossing Improvement Program over the four years from 2014/15 and 2017/18 for the delivery of level crossing safety initiatives.

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