VIDEO: Shocking near miss at rail crossing
QUEENSLAND Rail has released a video of a shocking near miss at a rail crossing in Warwick.
The footage shows a sedan running the gauntlet in front of a track maintenance vehicle.
The driver risked a $330 penalty and three demerit points, but more importantly nearly caused a fatal accident.
Forty near misses have been reported at Queensland Rail level crossings in the South West region this financial year and in response Queensland rail is coming to Toowoomba to spread the message on safety.
Queensland Rail Acting General Manager Safety Greg Fill said Queensland Rail's Community Education team would visit local school groups in Toowoomba, Gatton and the Lockyer Valley to drive home the message that the railway corridor is not a playground.
"While this is almost a 40 per cent decrease from the 65 incidents reported the year prior, as far as we're concerned a single near miss is one too many," Mr Fill said.
"This current financial year alone, we have already seen an alarming 37 pedestrians and motorists risk their lives at South West Queensland level crossings.
"Most recently, last month a silver utility was reported taking the ultimate risk at the North Street level crossing in Toowoomba, ignoring the flashing lights and other protections in place and avoiding a collision with an oncoming freight train by merely metres."
He is concerned residents in the region are continuing to ignore the warnings at level crossings.
"It only takes a matter of seconds for a near miss to turn into something much worse, such as a collision or a fatality," he said.
"Our Community Engagement team will be presenting to school groups in the Toowoomba region this week to educate students of the importance of rail safety, well in advance of them receiving their own driver's licenses.
"The team will also be at the North Point Shopping Centre tomorrow from 4.30pm-7pm to educate locals of the risks.
"Level crossing warnings are in place for a reason, whether it's signage, flashing lights or boom gates. Our message is simple - obey the signs and signals, take time to think about the consequences of your actions and don't gamble with your life at level crossings as it's simply not worth it.
"If we can make someone stop, think, and wait for the train, then we have made a difference."
Aurizon's head of safety, Neil Backer said level crossing protection was in place for a reason and if residents ignored warnings, they were not only endangering their own lives but also that of train operators, passengers and other road users.
"Freight trains can move at speeds of up to 100 kilometres an hour, and they can't swerve to avoid someone," Mr Backer said.
"The only option for train drivers is to apply the emergency brake, and what many people don't realise is that freight trains can sometimes take more than two kilometres to stop."
Pedestrians caught ignoring railway crossing protection could cop an on the spot fine of $227, and offending motorists could face a $330 penalty and three demerit points.