Rail crossings ‘unsafe for trucks’: report
THE LACK of recent level-crossing disasters involving trucks appears more to do with luck than good management, an Austroads report indicates.
Austroads, the peak organisation of Australasian road transport and traffic agencies, has released its Improved Railway Road Design for Heavy Vehicles report. The report identifies improvements to better cater for the safe passage of heavy vehicles through railway level crossings at a time when the road freight task continues to grow quickly.
Its analysis of heavy vehicle crashes at railway level crossings across Australia and New Zealand found that: • Many locations did not have warning signs installed to the standards at the time of the crash • Sight distances for approaching vehicle drivers were obstructed by development on abutting properties or vegetation • Delineation was poorly maintained.
The crash analysis indicates that crashes were almost evenly distributed between passive and active controls, most occurred in the morning, and a significant proportion occurred during daylight hours and on dry roads.
Straight road sections saw 79 per cent of crashes with 14 per cent where there was an easy curve and 7 per cent at moderate curves. While there was a gradual reduction in heavy vehicles level crossing crashes involving in Australia, the fatality rate remained unchanged.