Level crossings focus of latest police blitz

LOCAL police have launched a fresh blitz on level crossings as part of a rail crackdown.

The operation is targeting illegal and dangerous activity around rail lines and crossings, in particular local motorists who run the gauntlet and risk an accident or a “near miss”.

It’s part of rail safety week and police warn it’s all about driving the message of safety for motorists and rail staff and commuters.

“It’s about providing a high visibility presence and enforcing the requirements,” New England Acting Inspector Chris Pieterse said.

“We’re getting involved with enforcement and education about the consequences and offences committed by disobeying the rules and running the risks of ruining lives.”

Dozens of level crossings and rail hot spots will be watched this week by police across the Barwon, Oxley and New England commands.

Police said there are no second chances and warn everyone needs to be vigilant whether you’re a local or a visitor.

“Where possible we’re increasing our proactive taskings and patrols around the commands, particularly in the Armidale and Uralla area,” 

Acting Inspector Pieterse said.

According to statistics, police took action against 392 people in 2013 for level crossing-related offences – a jump of 45 per cent on the previous year.

Traffic and Highway Patrol Command Senior Sergeant Mick Timms said police would target risky behaviour to ensure lives aren’t lost.

“Pushing the limits at level crossings to beat a train is dangerous and risky, and losing your life rather than waiting a few moments is incomprehensible, he said.

“Police will be out to ensure all drivers use caution at level crossings by stopping when appropriate, as well as remaining alert and focussed, not using mobile phones or being distracted while driving.”

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