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NSW motorists have been urged to put their mobile phones away when driving – even when using open country roads.
Rail, Tram and Bus Union (NSW) Secretary Alex Claassens today said the distractions such as mobile phones posed a potentially deadly risk for drivers, especially around level crossings.
“A split second mistake around a level crossing can be fatal," Mr Claassens said.
“Trains can’t simply hit the brakes and stop. If a car misses flashing red lights or a stop sign and cuts in front of a fast-moving train, then it’s all over.
“That’s why we need a safety culture whereby everyone turns their phone off while driving.
“We’re all used to putting on our seatbelts – it’s time that we took the same approach to turning off our phones.”
Mr Claassens said National Rail Safety Week, which runs until 28 August, was an important opportunity to remind NSW motorists about level crossing safety.
“There are over 3,000 level crossings in NSW, including more than 1,400 on public roads.
“Most of these levels crossings are out in the country – so it is vital that people stay alert and concentrate when they are driving outside major cities, especially if they are unfamiliar with the roads.
“Always pay attention to road signs, and keep distractions to a minimum.”
Mr Claassens said the 2007 crash at Kerang, where a truck collided with a passenger train killing eight people, was a sombre reminder of the need to be absolutely vigilant around level crossings.
“Rail safety is too important to be taken for granted – don’t take risks around level crossings.”
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