One thing I have been too scared / embarrassed to ask for a long time, for fear of an angry response, is to ask about level crossing smashes as someone will probably say the truck driver has to be vigilant, but the reality in the real world is the vehicle driver is a human so normal lapses in concentration will occur.
It is true that drivers on the road (of all vehicles) need to make sure a crossing is clear before entering it. That's a basic fact, no need for anyone on either side of the issue to get angry.
The idea of the Safe System (Australia's national road safety strategy) is to create a forgiving transport system which avoids getting as far as the blame game as often as possible.
My question is how come there are not more level crossing smashes especially as empty container wagons are low and flat and not always brightly lit at night.
Australian rail operators have known about this for quite some time. Back in Australian National days there were already policies requiring the distribution of containers along the train to avoid having long strings of empty wagons.
The modern operators seem to be pretty good at filling backhaul capacity. The intermodal trains I see in SA rarely have more than a handful of empty wagons in a row, even on the trains going the 'wrong' direction.
If it were more of an issue, I think we would quickly see some sort of equivalent to trucks' running lights used on empty container wagons. It wouldn't be hard to design some kind of light on a stalk at driver's eye level which could be mounted using the hardware normally used for securing containers.
I don't give much credit to the reflectors on the wagons being of much use revealing the train to a truck driver approaching the level crossing at night at 100 kph.
Correct move there, reflective strips don't work when they are covered by grime.
Bean counters only see the cost of keeping locos and wagons clean, not the value.