AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Study prompts truck insurer’s level-crossing plea

<p>An early-warning system is crucial if the increasing trend for trucks to be involved in accidents at level crossings is to be reversed, truck insurer National Transport Insurance (NTI) has warned.</p> <p>Perhaps the most surprising outcome of its study of the problem was the danger Queensland’s canefield rail crossings pose.</p> <p>&#8220Since 1986, our records indicate 84 incidents where trucks (insured by NTI) and trains have collided with varying degrees of seriousness,&#8221 NTI’s industry affairs manager, Owen Driscoll, said.</p> <p>&#8220Disturbingly, 44% of these crashes have occurred since 2000.&#8221</p> <p>Most incidents occurred in daylight hours, highlighting the ineffectiveness of warning systems at level crossings and the need for motorists to stay alert, particularly in rural and remote areas, he said.</p> <p>&#8220With reportedly more than 9,400 rail crossings across Australia, NTI strongly advises that immediate action should be taken to protect the safety of road and rail users, and while this includes ongoing driver awareness and training, a system that provides earlier warnings for motorists is crucial,&#8221 he said.</p> <p>&#8220With the high cost to the community of these incidents, both in relation to life and property, NTI implores government and industry to identify a solution to this issue.&#8221 </p> <p>Interim findings include:</p> <p>&#8226 In 83% of incidents, the road unit was on an outbound journey from home base</p> <p>&#8226 In 87% of incidents, the heavy vehicle was found to be responsible</p> <p>&#8226 43% of accidents occurred in Queensland, with the result influenced by incidents with cane trains</p> <p>&#8226 Worst day for accidents is Wednesday</p> <p>&#8226 Worst time is between 9 am and 3 pm and</p> <p>&#8226 Worst months are July, September and November.</p> <p>NTI’s National Centre for Truck Accident Research&#8224reviewed the day, month, time, location of rail crossing, freight carried, truck configuration, age&#47experience of driver and other associated factors in the recent study. The research focused on NTI-insured heavy vehicle accidents in the hire and reward road freight sector with trucks having a carrying capacity exceeding 4.5 tonnes.</p> <p>NTI insures over $7bn in assets for more than 13,000 policy holders. Originally formed in 1971, NTI is an equal-partner joint venture of CGU and Vero.</p> <br />