A minute out of your life, or the rest of your life – Aurizon train driver sends message to motorists
Aurizon train drivers are pleading with motorists to take care at level crossings and near railway lines in a new video launched today to mark the start of National Rail Safety Week.
Figures from the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads show 22 near misses this year (1 January to 30 June 2014) and 61 near misses occurred last year in the Central Queensland region.
Aurizon train driver of 22 years, Eddy Joyce, says motorists are too often playing Russian roulette with their lives.
"I've had numerous close calls at level crossings over the years and when you see a car on the tracks as your train approaches, you get a mix of emotions. It starts with fear and then anger takes over. Anger because on a daily basis drivers are risking their lives and their family's by trying to outrun a train that takes only a few minutes to pass.
"A near miss at a level crossing can be extremely traumatic for train drivers. It's something that you don't want to be involved in when you come to work every day just to do your job."
Aurizon Vice President of Safety, Health and Environment at Aurizon, Neil Backer, says there are around 1,000 near misses on the rail network across Australia every year.
"Every near miss is just seconds away from becoming a disaster and the outcome is potentially catastrophic.
"It can take a freight train up to two kilometres to stop and they can't swerve to miss a vehicle on the tracks.
"Anyone choosing to trespass onto train tracks or who ignores railway level crossing signals is risking their own lives and the lives of others.
"Just like you, our train drivers have families and they want to make it home safely", Mr Backer says.
Aurizon is committed to raising awareness across the community for rail safety. The Company is working closely with Queensland Police to target 'hot spot' level crossings in Central Queensland and is running school programs in New South Wales and Western Australia.
RAIL SAFETY WEEK
Running from 11-17 August, RSW is now in its ninth year
Every near miss, incident or fatality on the rail network puts the lives of train drivers in danger and causes severe and ongoing trauma to train drivers and rail employees.
Every single death or injury on the rail network is avoidable if people obey the rules. Accessing railway lines is illegal and punishable with severe fines by law.
As well as Rail Safety Week, Aurizon supports the not-for-profit TrackSAFE program, which operates across Australian and New Zealand.
TrackSAFE brings the rail industry together with emergency services, government agencies, community service providers (including beyondblue and Lifeline) and the road industry, to reduce incidents on the rail network.
For further information visit www.tracksafefoundation.com.au
There is more than 44,200km of railway track in Australia.
There are approximately 23,500 level crossings in Australia.
There are around 1,000 near misses on the Australian rail network every year – that's two to three per day.
There are more than 5,000 incidents of trespass on the rail network annually - that's one trespass every two hours across Australia.
A fully loaded freight train can take up to 2km to stop once the emergency brakes are applied.
The rail corridor is private property and trespassing is illegal.
In most of the instances of trespass the person is deliberately taking a short-cut or walking somewhere they know they shouldn't be.