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Source: New Zealand Police (National News)

New Zealand Police and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency are urging people to pay attention around train tracks and level crossings to stay safe this Rail Safety Week and every week.

“This is a good time to remind people to pay attention around train tracks. The same way you check for cars when you cross a road, when you cross railway tracks you should always check for trains,” says Inspector Peter McKennie, Manager: Operations, National Road Policing Centre.

“Unfortunately, some people are complacent about crossing railway tracks. They are looking at their phone, have headphones in or are simply not paying attention as they step out onto the tracks. Others deliberately cross despite the warning signals. As well as risking their own lives, this can lead to copycat behaviour by young children with devastating outcomes.

“Not all rail crossings have bells and lights, and even if they do you, you are less likely to notice them if you don’t make a conscious effort to stop, look and listen. A moment of inattention could cost you your life on a train track.

“Just as pedestrians should always cross tracks with care, so should drivers and riders. Drivers must always obey bells, lights, and barriers – and where there are none they should always look both ways before they proceed over a railway track,” says Insp McKennie.

“It’s a terrible fact that since 2013, 110 people have been hit and killed by trains and 68 people have been seriously injured,” says Greg Lazzaro, Waka Kotahi General Manager Safety, Health and Environment.

“Every one of these deaths and serious injuries has a devastating impact on families and on our communities.

“We also can’t ignore the significant impact of near misses – last year there were 320 near misses – that’s almost one a day and any one of them could have resulted in a fatality.

“Near misses with trains can be reduced if people stay alert and comply with signs and signals in place to help you cross safely.

“It’s vital when you’re around trains, tracks and level crossings to take notice of your surroundings and cross with care,” says Mr Lazzaro.

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Issued by Police Media Centre