Unexpected crackdown on road rule in NSW
NSW Police is cracking down on a road rule most people wouldn't expect authorities to target.
Authorities in the state's north have started a campaign to increase public safety around level crossings.
Police will be on the lookout for risky driver behaviour around railway crossings, with the Tamworth area being targeted with increased patrols at level crossings.
Residents living in nearby areas were informed of the enforcement period through letterbox drops.
Electronic billboards are now in the areas, reminding motorists to take care at level crossings.
This is part of an ongoing series of awareness and enforcement campaigns by NSW Police and the NSW Centre for Road Safety relating to level crossings.
Stopping at flashing lights and stop signs around train tracks is probably something motorists don't even think twice about, but there are drivers who put themselves in danger by ignoring these rules.
Traffic and Highway Patrol Command's acting Assistant Commissioner, Greg Rolph, said despite the extreme risks drivers still ignored level crossing rules.
"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," Mr 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."
Police will target motorists who queue over railway tracks, speed near level crossings, disobey flashing lights and stop signs, and use their phones while approaching level crossings.
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," Mr Rolph said.
Drivers caught ignoring the road rules around level crossings will be hit with a hefty $448 fine and three demerit points.
From July 2001 to June 2018 there were 144 collisions between trains and road vehicles at level crossings in NSW.
Centre for Road Safety executive director, Bernard Carlon, said 11 people died as a result of these collisions.
"This enforcement operation is all about saving lives and preventing injuries, but we need drivers to be responsible and play their part in reducing trauma at level crossings," Mr Carlon said.