It’s the road rule that you’ve likely never even heard of – but that’s not going to stop police from cracking down on negligent drivers.
For the rest of the month, NSW Police will be increasing police patrols at level train crossings looking for motorists disobeying the flashing lights and stop signs.
While it might seem like common knowledge to not get too close to a passing train, NSW law dictates that drivers are required to leave a 20 metre distance from the train tracks.
Those who ignore the little-known rule risk losing three demerit points and a $448 fine.
The crackdown, which also focuses on anyone who queues over railway tracks and speeds near level crossings, comes after a boom gate came down on the cabin of a truck, in a terrifying near-miss.
Traffic and Highway Patrol Command’s Acting Assistant Commissioner, Greg Rolph, said that despite the high-stakes consequences, people are still ignoring warnings at level crossings.
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“In the past month, there have been two incidents where vehicles are queuing too close to the tracks, forcing the drivers of approaching passenger trains to apply emergency brakes,” Assistant Commissioner Rolph said.
“In one case, a boom gate came down on the cabin of a truck and it was only good fortune that the vehicle involved was able to clear the tracks before trains appeared.”
During the past two years, police have issued almost 1000 penalty notices for level crossing traffic offences statewide.
“This is why we need to continue running these localised campaigns and reinforce our Train to Stop message to motorists at level crossings,” Assistant Commissioner Rolph said.
From July 2001 to June 2018 there were 144 collisions between trains and road vehicles at level crossings in NSW, resulting in 11 fatalities.
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