Victorian transit police have issued a plea to motorists to improve their behaviour around rail crossings after a spate of near misses in the past two weeks.
Police have reminded motorists that a new timetable – delivered following the opening of the Regional Rail Link on June 21 – means more V/Line trains are going through level crossings at Deer Park and Sunshine West.
Some motorists have been “dicing with death” by ignoring warning signals and even driving around boom gates, the state’s police force said on Thursday.
Victorian Police Transit Safety Division Inspector Karl Curran said he wanted to get a clear message to drivers who ignore level crossing warning signals.
“If driver behaviour continues this way there is going to be a fatality,” Curran said. “We are absolutely sick of drivers taking potentially deadly risks around railway tracks and level crossings as trains approach at up to 160 km/h.”
Curran said he’s asked transit police to patrol high risk level crossings, and to issue penalty notices of up to $758 to any motorists who cross tracks when boom gates are closed, drive across tracks when warning signals are operating or fail to stop or give way at level crossings.
He said road users should slow down, look carefully and listen for trains when there is a crossing ahead and obey any traffic signals.
“You must not cross when gates and booms are operating or when red lights are flashing – do not try and beat the train at the level crossing,” he warned motorists.
“Motorists need to be aware that they should not queue on the crossing and only attempt to cross when there is room for their vehicle on the other side.
“We know that everyone is busy and often rushing to their destination but taking a little longer will mean that at least you get there alive.”