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Rail warns don’t become another ‘near hit’ statistic

Patron of the TrackSAFE Foundation Tim Fischer AC said there were more than 1,000 near hits on Australian railway lines every year and pleaded with people to consider the impact a near hit has not only on the person on the track but the train driver in the cabin as well.

“In reality, these 1,000 near hits show us that 1,000 people could have ruined their own life, as well as the lives of the train driver, scene attendants, witnesses, and their family. A rail accident affects more than just you and that’s the message the industry is trying to get across this Rail Safety Week,” said Mr Fischer.

“Over the years, more and more rail organisations have become involved in this community education initiative by visiting schools, holding competitions, running advertising campaigns, and ultimately increasing awareness of the importance of rail safety.

“Activities and events are being conducted all over the country to raise awareness about this important issue. For example, Sydney Trains are holding a TrackSAFE with Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends’ event at Central Station; South Australia Police are running an enforcement campaign with a display stall at Adelaide Railway Station; Metro Trains Melbourne will be holding a launch event at Flinders St Station with its infamous ‘Dumb Ways to Die’ characters, so there will definitely be a lot of reminders out there for the public to stay safe,” he said.

TrackSAFE, which represents the rail industry in working together to mitigate the number of incidents and the resultant trauma caused to employees, is coordinating the campaign which is in its ninth year. Posters in trains and on station platforms will be on display and a YouTube video outlining the shocking statistics and safety issues in Australia has been developed, both of which can be viewed at www.tracksafefoundation.com.au/rail-safety-week.

“Rail is the safest form of land transport. The issue is behavioural— when people go to take risks around railway lines they fail to realise that trains always have right of way and simply cannot stop quickly. It can take a fully loaded freight train up to 2km to stop, that’s equivalent to 14 full sized football fields, it is time that people heed this warning,” Mr Fischer continued.

“Every single death or injury on the rail network is avoidable if people remain vigilant and obey the rules, we therefore simply cannot and will not let this issue fall off the radar.

“This Rail Safety Week, I implore all Australian’s to listen to our message and stay safe around trains and tracks, don’t become a near hit statistic,” Mr Fischer concluded.

For more information, visit www.tracksafefoundation.com.au for a list of full activities or Twitter @TrackSAFE/#RSW2014.