AusRAIL, Market Sectors

ARA and Sarta lock horns over level-crossing safety

<p>An unseemly war of words broke out yesterday (Thursday, July 6) between the South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) and the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) over level crossing safety.</p> <p>A &#8220horrified&#8221 ARA accused Sarta of &#8220flippant attitude displayed towards truck driver behaviour at level crossings&#8221 over statements in a members-only Sarta bulletin. </p> <p>The article stated that the rail industry tried to &#8220blame trucking as being always at fault&#8221, the ARA said.</p> <p> &#8220The SARTA article dreams of a day when all rail lines are `moved 5 km out to sea’,&#8221 ARA chief executive Bryan Nye said yesterday (Thursday, July 5). </p> <p>&#8220This remark, although made in jest, is indicative of the trucking industry’s lack of understanding on this issue and willingness to improve safety. Instead of leading discussion on ways to increase safety at level crossings, the trucking industry is excusing itself of responsibility.&#8221 </p> <p>The ARA claimed the SARTA article attempted to justify the trucking industry’s complacency by arguing that in the real world, &#8220some people will unfortunately mess up occasionally and cause injuries and death&#8221. </p> <p>The ARA claimed the article stated that it was natural for some drivers to &#8220kill themselves through sheer stupidity or carelessness&#8221. </p> <p>SARTA rejected ARA criticism, saying it had been &#8220grossly misrepresented&#8221 by the ARA &#8220in its attempt today to use misquotes and incomplete quotes out of context so as to try to paint the trucking industry as the bad boy on level-crossing safety&#8221.</p> <p>&#8220It is contrary to the interests of all Australians for the ARA to continue to run its squabbles against the trucking industry, instead of engaging in completely open and frank discussions about how to improve safety at level crossings,&#8221 exective director Steve Shearer said.</p> <p>&#8220If the ARA had its way, no truck would ever cross a rail line except at a crossing controlled by boom gates.</p> <p>&#8220The rail lobby needs to get serious about full, effective and practical solutions to the rail crossing safety challenge. </p> <p>&#8220That was the point being made by SARTA and it remains our point.</p> <p>&#8220Governments also need to get serious about whether or not they want to engage the trucking industry on this issue because the only solutions that will prove effective and sustainable are ones that are developed by all the relevant parties, including trucking, through frank and open-minded discussions.&#8221 </p> <br />