Wrong side of the track
SIX near-misses at railway level crossings in Gympie, Wide Bay and the Sunshine Coast last year has authorities urging residents to take extra care with an increase in school traffic.
Minister for Transport Stirling Hinchliffe said statistics revealed near-misses at level crossings typically trended upwards at the start of the school year.
"During the back to school period last year more than 20 motorists and pedestrians across the state were reported gambling with their lives at level crossings," Mr Hinchliffe said.
"With school back my message to motorists and pedestrians is to be on the safe side - stop, think and obey the signs around a level crossing."
Queensland Rail safety general manager Greg Fill said collisions at railway level crossings were one of the largest causes of loss of life on the rail network, but every incident could be avoided.
"Trains on the network can travel up to speeds of 160 kilometres per hour, they can't swerve to avoid someone and often take several hundred metres to stop," Mr Fill said.
"Level crossing warnings are in place for a reason, whether it's signage, flashing lights or boom gates. The message is simple - obey the signs and signals, take time to think about the consequences of your actions..."
"Any near miss is one too many when the lives of Queenslanders, passengers and rail staff are at risk, so we're asking people to stop, think and wait for the train next time they're at a level crossing.
"Motorists and pedestrians may think they're invincible, but the reality is every near miss has the potential to turn into something much worse, like a collision or fatality, in just a matter of seconds."
In 2015, 244 motorists and pedestrians statewide risked their lives on the Queensland Rail network by running the gauntlet in front of an oncoming train - a decrease of 17 percent from the 295 near miss incidents reported in the previous year.
Pedestrians caught ignoring railway crossing protection could receive an on-the-spot fine of $227, and offending motorists could face a $330 penalty and three demerit points.
To learn more about rail safety, tmr.qld.gov.au/Safety/Rail-safety.aspx