Industry News

Truck driver ‘complacency’ an issue at level crossings, says NHVR CEO

The CEO of the NHVR has urged truck drivers to take safety at level crossings more seriously as he said “complacency” has crept into the industry.  

Speaking at the ATA’s annual conference in Canberra, Sal Petroccitto said he’s not “passing blame” to truck drivers but  they need to be more prepared for the unexpected.  

“There’s an element of complacency coming into the sector,” he said.  

“You know – ‘I’ve never seen a train there before!’ or ‘Where did that come from?’ 

“We get into this state of mind, of thinking ‘I’ve done this before and there’s never been an issue’. 

“I think that’s a bad state to be in.”  

Dr Chris Wren, senior policy officer with the ATA, agreed with Petroccitto.  

“There is an element of habit,” he said. “Drivers aren’t looking for trains, not expecting to see them, and they’re not seeing them.  

“One of the points I’m trying to hit home is that people take this a bit more seriously, because a momentary lapse is going to cost someone’s life. 

“Even with efficient braking systems, it takes a considerable amount of time for a train to stop, especially when travelling at high speeds.  

“Taking a risk at level crossings is never worth it.” 

Wren said it’s important for people to educate themselves, their staff, their colleagues and their friends around level crossing safety.  

“If you live in a constituency with a passive level crossing, you must write to your local politician and explain the dangers that poorly lit trains pose to your community,” he said. 

“If you have drivers working for you, it’s your job to make sure they have all the tools they need to do their job safely.  

“If you’re a driver, then you owe it to your families and you owe it to your loved ones to make sure you come home.” 

Petroccitto and Wren both said that while driver behaviour is a contributing factor for incidents at level crossings, the rail industry has been too slow to improve train illumination. 

Wren is advocating for train illumination to be a legal requirement, because not enough progress is being made on that front. 

“I have seen coroners’ records that are 25, 30 years old, that are making the same recommendations for illumination for lighting that we’re making now,” Wren said.  

“The rail regulator currently has a Code of Practice entitled ‘Level Crossings and Train Visibility’. 

“Which is ironic, because it actually deals with neither of these subjects.  

“It’s woefully inadequate throughout, but especially on the illumination of carriages.” 

He added: “There’s no commitment, no external input, nothing. Just a voluntary code written by an industry with a history of self-interest. 

“Safety at level crossings is a shared responsibility, and what I would really like to see is is a buy in from everyone.” 


The post Truck driver ‘complacency’ an issue at level crossings, says NHVR CEO appeared first on Big Rigs.

  1. Australian Truck Radio Listen Live
Send this to a friend