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MOUNTED CCTV cameras are about to be trialled and could soon be installed at many level
crossings in Tasmania to capture near misses that continue to traumatise train drivers.
TasRail confirmed to The Advocate yesterday it was
about to trial its first camera at Granton, ``which is one of
our blackspots'', adding ``if all goes well we will place
others at blackspots around the state''.
The Australian Rail Tram and Bus Industry Union (RTBU) said use of the technology was critical to tackle the growing number of incidents at rail crossings.
And soon-to-arrive new TasRail locomotives will also most likely have internal cameras pointing down the track, helping to compile evidence of incidents at level crossings.
The camera-led crackdown follows two more incidents at level crossings this week involving:
* A truck driver who ignored the active crossing signals at Appledore Rd, Devonport, and;
* The driver of a Holden Commodore who ``stopped'' on a crossing at Short St, Leith, while the lights were flashing, requiring the train driver to make an emergency stop.
The details of the vehicle were reported to
RTBU secretary Samantha Simonetis said the number of near misses had increased, probably because more freight was being transported on the state's rail network since TasRail took over the network from Pacific National several years ago.
Also, the transportation schedule regularly changed meaning some motorists, anticipating a train at a fixed timetable, were caught unaware if they failed to listen and look at level crossings, she said.
``Somebody is going to be killed _ it's just got to stop,'' Ms Simonetis said.
``We have had a gutful.
``I think what a lot of people don't understand is that a train can't stop, it can't stop like a car.
``It's probably the driver's worst nightmare.
``People just don't expect there to be a train.''
Ms Simonetis said installing boom gates at every crossing was most likely cost prohibitive.
She said advertising and educational campaigns about level crossing safety had seemingly failed to stop the number of incidents from climbing.
Therefore, Ms Simonetis said the use of CCTV cameras could help capture the registration numbers of vehicles involved in crossing incidents, acting as a deterrent.
At present it was very difficult to to trace the drivers involved in near misses, Ms Simonetis said.
``We need to find out the registration numbers of the cars, which is really hard,'' she said.
``I think it (CCTV camera roll-out) will happen and the sooner it happens the better.''
This article first appeared on www.theadvocate.com.au
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