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TasRail has issued a stern warning to motorists that they could die if they continue to be complacent at level crossings.
TasRail chief operating officer Stephen Kerrison said a three-second delay in a train driver hitting the brakes was all it could have taken for a mother and two children to have been killed in a collision at Station Street, Brighton, late last month.
Footage of the incident, released on Monday to launch Rail Safety Week, shows the car the family were travelling in failing to give way to a northbound train.
The locomotive collides with the rear bumper of car and the three occupants inside are lucky to escape uninjured.
Mr Kerrison said the collision was the second of its kind in two months. The other occurred on Deviation Road, near Westbury, in June.
"It's disappointing to see driver behaviour cause a collision with a train," he said.
"Unfortunately we continue to have people not paying attention or inattention at level crossings and we want to reiterate and continue to educate people around rail safety and the importance of being compliant with level crossings."
Last financial year, 72 motorists failed to give way or stop at level crossings in Tasmania.
There has also been a spike in the number of people trespassing in rail corridors, and 122 livestock were found on tracks in the 2017-18 financial year, up from 64 the previous year.
TasRail Driver Supervisor David Payne, who has been involved in dozens of near misses and one fatality, said collisions took an emotional toll on drivers.
"I don't want anyone to ever have to go through some of the things that I've been through," he said.
"It's a lot for the driver to deal with. You're looking out the window, you see this vehicle, you're not sure whether it's going to stop or not.
"You suddenly realise no it's not going to stop, so you throw the brakes on, you come to a stop maybe 200 or 300 metres down the track, you walk back, you hear the lights dinging away, you see steam rising out the bonnet of the vehicle.
"You just hope that somebody's going to be calling out to you, because you know if someone's signing, they're alive and they're okay."
Mr Payne said most train drivers relive the moment of an impact over and over again.
TasRail offers support to its workers, but the company would prefer if motorists obeyed the rules.
"Clearly we're not in a position to swerve out the way," Mr Kerrison said.
"Level crossing signs are part of the road rules and we want people to obey them. TasRail is just calling on drivers that when they see a track, think train and obey the rules."
Tasmania Police will fine or prosecute people caught doing the wrong thing.
TasRail said it would continue to work with authorities to make rail crossings safer.
The Tasmanian Government committed to spending an additional $1.1 billion on road and rail upgrades in this year's state budget.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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