Cairns Road Policing Unit have been out in force performing traffic enforcement around the various railway level crossings in Cairns and surrounding areas as part of Rail Safety Week, which began on Monday and runs through to Sunday August 21.
So far, over the course of the week numerous traffic infringement notices were issued to drivers for entering a level crossing while the warning lights or bells were operating.
This infringement notice carries a $365 penalty and attracts 3 demerit points.
Cairns Road Policing Unit Sergeant Greg Rose highlights the importance of rail safety.
“One of the aims of Rail Safety Week is to improve awareness around railway level crossings. The potential consequences for failing to stop at a level crossing or trying to get through a level crossing before a boom gate lowers can be fatal,” Sergeant Rose said.
Acting Sergeant Alex Bor hit the jackpot when he was tasked to ride the Kuranda Scenic Railway Train with Train Driver Merv.
The aim was to better observe the route from the train drivers perspective and to relay offences to police situated along the track.
Acting Sergeant Bor was able to relay to colleagues each time he observed vehicles failing to stop at the level crossing, the vehicles would be intercepted and drivers dealt with in relation to the offence they had just committed.
“Due to the size and weight of a train it requires a considerable distance to stop,” Acting Sergeant Bor said.
“Motorists who attempt to drive across a level crossing before the boom gate lowers or fail to check the level crossing warning lights before they enter the level crossing are taking a chance with their lives, the lives of the occupants of their vehicle, the train driver and the passengers on the train. It is simply not worth the risk.”
Unfortunately there have been fatal and serious incidents at level crossings around Cairns and through the Far North over the last few years.
In most cases these could have been avoided if the driver had either stopped at the level crossing as they are required to, or had observed that the level crossing warning lights were operating.
“We regularly perform enforcement around level crossings and Rail Safety Week is the perfect time to remind drivers of their obligations at level crossings and to pay attention to the level crossing warning lights as they approach them.”
If you have information for police, contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form 24hrs per day.
You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers, a registered charity and community volunteer organisation, by calling 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppersqld.com.au 24hrs per day.