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Too many dice with death at crossings

Mackay Daily Mercury

SPLIT-second decisions to try to beat closing railway boom gates led to six crashes at crossings in the Sunshine Coast region last year.

Queensland Rail statistics revealed that on average more than two people per week risked their lives while trying to level crossing booms.

Background: More than two drivers per week risking lives with trains

Last year more than 500 trains in south-east Queensland were affected by crashes at boom gates.

Queensland Rail corporate and customer relations general manager Rebecca Masci said going through a railway crossing while the red lights were flashing and boom gates closing was illegal and motorists could face a $330 fine and the loss of three demerit points.

"Motorists who damage boom gates and other level crossing infrastructure can also be fined up to $8800 in addition to the repair bill," she said.

"Both passenger and freight trains run on the Queensland Rail network, some of which can move at speeds of up to 160kmh, and they can't swerve to avoid someone.

"The only option for train drivers is to apply the emergency brake, and what many people don't realise is that trains - particularly express or freight trains - can sometimes take more than a kilometre to stop."

Queensland Rail released the statistics after getting hold of dash cam footage that showed dangerous and reckless behaviour at boom gates.

Do penalties for driving through red lights at level crossings need to be raised?

This poll ended on 16 March 2015.

Current Results

No. You'll never completely stop people doing it.

9%

Maybe put something like a red light camera there?

54%

Yes. Hip-pocket pain to avoid another fatality.

36%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

The figures

Boom gate crashes in 2014 (2013 in brackets)

Sunshine Coast

5 (6)

Wide Bay

14 (15)

Central Qld

16 (14)

Mackay/Whitsunday

4 (16)

South-west Qld

15 (12)

Ipswich

4 (5)

South-east Qld

68 (74)

Queensland

141 (178)

Topics:  boom gates fatalities queensland rail rail crossings



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