Madness as drivers dice with death at rail crossings
A FRIGHTENING number of motorists are dicing with death on Sunshine Coast level crossings and Queensland Rail officials fear it will end in tragedy.
IN one incident, a motorist drove around lowered boom gates directly in front of an approaching train.
Motorcyclists, pedestrians and even a bus were involved in six level crossing incidents reported to QR on the Sunshine Coast last year.
QR acting chief executive officer Jim Benstead said two near misses occurred on the Bray Rd level crossing at Mooloolah.
"It was reported one motorist travelled through the level crossing when the boom gates were on their way down, and less than a week later, another motorist drove around the full-lowered boom gates," Mr Benstead said.
"Both incidents occurred in front of an approaching City network train."
Two young motorcyclists also risked their lives by riding through a crossing in front of a City network train near Woombye.
Mr Benstead said vehicles drove into boom gates three times on the Coast.
Trucks smashed into boom gates at the Caloundra Street level crossing at Landsborough twice while a witness reported seeing a bus drive into a boom gate at Barrs Rd, Glasshouse Mountains, leaving it lying on the ground.
QR was trying to improve level crossing safety through education, engineering, enforcement and innovation, however motorists needed to play their part by obeying signs and signals at level crossings, Mr Benstead said.
"Some train drivers never recover from the trauma of a collision involving serious injury or death, and even the most experienced is unsettled by the frightening experience of a near miss with a vehicle or pedestrian."
The State Government has doubled the penalty for damaging QR property. Motorists can be fined up to $8800 following a collision with level crossing equipment.