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Almost 80 per cent of Australia's 23,000 railway crossings do not have flashing lights or boom gates to warn drivers about oncoming trains, according to the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC).
In February, two farm workers died near Young when their truck collided with a freight train at a passive level crossing.
A passive crossing has a stop or give-way sign and requires the driver to check for oncoming trains.
A petition started by Maddie Bott, the fiancée of one of the men who died, calling for flashing lights at every crossing, had received more than 15,000 signatures.
Ms Bott said she was surprised by the reaction.
"It has surprised me a little bit, I wasn't expecting that much. We were just sort of starting a petition to raise a bit of awareness," Ms Bott said.
"But it's definitely reached all over Australia which is really amazing."
There are more than 1,000 near misses at rail crossings across Australia every year, Australian Rail Track Corporation says.(ABC News: Hugh Hogan
)Railway crossing upgrades expensiveBut putting flashing lights and boom gates at every crossing in Australia might not be practical, according to one expert.
Gemma Read from the University of the Sunshine Coast said it could cost up to $400,000 to upgrade each individual crossing.
She said the reason for the high price tag was the crossings have to be connected to a mains power source and be fail-safe, otherwise, they could actually be more dangerous for motorists.
"These crossing systems have to detect the train, and make sure they detect the train really reliably, and the engineering behind that can be quite expensive to install and construct and maintain," Dr Read said.
Dr Read said drivers are likely to become complacent at an active crossing, so a crossing in a remote area that fails could be more dangerous than the standard passive crossing.
Upgrades to a level crossing further west of Young, at Parkes on the Newell Highway cost $990,000, to install flashing lights and reflective boom gates.
The ARTC said the Tichborne crossing was busy with 4,000 vehicles a day, including 1,000 heavy vehicles.
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Police to crack down on driver safetyNew South Wales Police said it would have a renewed focus on dangerous behaviour at rail crossings in support of the petition.
North West Region traffic coordinator Sergeant Kelly Wixx said more than 1,000 infringement notices had been issued in the last two years for offences in and around level crossings.
"I just want people to be safe."
"A train can travel at up to 160 kilometres per hour and it can take up to one kilometre for that train to stop," she said.
She said the police in the central west would be on the lookout for drivers and pedestrians not obeying the rules around level crossings.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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