Today’s level crossing collision is a tragic reminder of the risks that are present around trains and the care that motorists need to take around railway crossings, according to TrackSAFE NZ. Read more
On average there are around 24 collisions per year between trains and motor vehicles on public road crossings.
In the past ten years about 12 percent of road level crossing collisions occurred where half-arm barriers plus flashing lights and bells were installed. 37 percent happened where flashing lights and bells were installed. The remaining collisions occurred at crossings protected by signs alone.
In any 10 year period over 80 percent of road level crossings are collision free. A small group of "collision black spot" level crossings (those with more than one collision within ten years) are responsible for around 36 percent of all collisions.
Half arm barriers are considered to eliminate around 90 percent of collisions and flashing lights and bells are considered to eliminate about 65 percent of collisions that would have occurred at a crossing if it had been protected by signs alone.
Over the past ten years there were 34 collisions between pedestrians and trains at 30 different locations. This is around 3 collisions per year.
Approximately 75 percent of pedestrian level crossing collisions occur where automatic alarms are installed.
source: KiwiRail, July 2013
Trespassers struck by trains is the leading cause of railway deaths in New Zealand. From 1994 to 2012, 204 people have died while trespassing on railway tracks. (New Zealand Ministry of Transport data).
A significant number of trespasser deaths are considered to be suicides.
In data collected between 1990 and 2012 from the NZ Transport Agency's Crash Analysis System (CAS) relating to all collisions between motor vehicles and trains at a level crossing:
The majority of collisions occur because the driver has made a mistake (didn't look or failed to see the train) or because they thought they could beat the train over the crossing.
More statistical information can be found on the Ministry of Transport website.
Remember by law, trains always have the right of way.