There have been 254 collisions between cars and trains at public road level crossings in New Zealand from 2004 to 1 September 2015. Source: http://www.tracksafe.co.nz/issues/level-crossing-collisions
The level crossing is a place or level point where railway, road or path meets or crosses each other. It is also known as a grade crossing, railway crossing, railroad crossing, train crossing, etc. Every human being on earth has only one life to live; no one has more than one life.
The way and manner we protect our lives from dangers determine how long we shall to fulfill destiny in life. If one imagines the thousands of people that have lost their lives in different modes of transport, one may wonder if the modes of transport are death traps for man on earth. This explains why safety in transport is very important.
Without any element of doubt, modes of transport and the new technologies are
meant to make life easy for man and to benefit man in all ramifications but
human errors and poor safety attitude of some people are the leading factors of
most accidents in any mode of transport. These may also explain why there is high rate of rail accidents in the world. For example, according to Department of Transport and the Federal Railroad Administration, more than 2,500 train accidents occur every year in the US.
If all railroad users, train drivers and the entire railway staff consider safety as
their first priority, railroad will be safer. For instance, there is speed limit a train
driver is expected to obey at a particular route section. Train’s lighting and the
good condition of the track must not be in doubt, the train must be equipped
with functional horn and train bell, the train driver is expected to honk, at least,
1,000 feet distance from the point of the level crossing and he is also expected to
allow the train bell to ring until the last car of the train left the level crossing, train
driver’s sensitivity during operation must not be questioned. These, among
others, are the obligations every individual concerned must keep to make the
Having read the above caption as a reader of this article, probably you are one of
those that would have expected the caption to be: “Don’t endanger your life:
think twice when you are at the level crossing” not “…when you are approaching the level crossing.”
You may further assume it is only necessary to think twice when one is already at the level crossing not when one is still approaching it. If you hold this kind of opinion, it is good. Why? It is because it will help you after reading through this article to understand how dangerous the level crossing accident is and the reason why you need to think twice when approaching it.
As an individual, my observation reveals that the frequency of the level crossing
accidents these days is becoming more worrisome and the consequences thereafter are even more serious than any other kind of accident in railway transport. For instance, in Europe not less than 400 people and in the United States over 300 people are killed every year in level crossing accidents. Source: Wikipedia.
In addition, in 2016, there were 2025 collisions in the US, resulting into 265 fatalities and 798 injuries; also, in 2015, 2075 collisions occurred resulting into
233 fatalities, 1032 people injured, while also, in 2014, there were 2,295 collisions in the US., resulting into 262 fatalities and 873 injuries. Source: Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
However, from the above data, you will notice that over 2,000 collisions occurred each year. Obviously, there is progress in reduction of collision at the level crossing. For example, in 1981 and 1982, there were 9,461 collisions and 7,932 collisions in the US, respectively (FRA). So, when you compare it to the last 3 years, you will see there’s obvious reduction, like I have noted earlier. Yet these figures, as it were, in the last 3 years are still not acceptable. Why? It is because the level crossing collisions are avoidable accidents. Therefore, from zero collision to over 2,000 collisions is still a great figure and it’s not acceptable.
It is important to note that the majority of level crossing accidents happens during the day where the level crossings are even equipped with automatic warning devices. One may wonder why the majority of this kind of accident still happens during the day. This, among other reasons, justifies the above caption, “Don’t Endanger Your Life: Think Twice When Approaching the Level Crossing”. This is because the cyclist’s, the pedestrian’s and the driver’s negligence at the level crossing may be a costly mistake that can kill you.