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New Zealand gets behind International Level Crossing Awareness Day

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

KiwiRail and the Chris Cairns Foundation are proud to support ILCAD – the International Level Crossing Awareness Day, being observed today by over 40 countries around the world.

Chris Cairns Foundation Manager Megan Drayton says the international event is now in its third year and this year has the motto ‘Act safely at level crossings’. 

“We are delighted to join the world in this campaign and help raise awareness about level crossing safety,” she says. 

“Our role is to educate the public on how they can keep themselves safe around level crossings, and this event helps us pursue that goal.  Ultimately what we’d like to see is zero collisions and no more harm to pedestrians and motorists.”

This year in New Zealand there have been nine level crossing collisions at public road level crossings, resulting in one death.

“The number of collisions is below the previous 10 year average for the same period and two fewer than the same period in 2010,” says KiwiRail Network General Manager Rick van Barneveld.

“At this stage the end of the calendar year total for public road collisions is likely to be slightly higher than the total for last year but below the average for the last 10 years.”

Since 1993 there have been more than 350 level crossing collisions in which over 100 people have died.

The ILCAD campaign has been developed in European rail and road organisations, in conjunction with the European Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

It has now been adopted by other countries around the world in the USA, Canada, Asia, Africa and Australasia.

According to ILCAD organiser Isabelle Fonverne, the campaign aims to highlight the issue of rail safety and bring the risks of level crossings to the attention of level crossing users. 

 “This is of course not a problem that can be uniquely addressed by the rail community, it has to be handled as one shared concern amongst several players, including the road and rail sectors, police forces, road users and those with responsibility for licensing those users as well as with pedestrians including cyclists,” Ms Fonverne says.

Greater Wellington Regional Council, the NZ Automobile Association, the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and the Taieri Gorge Railway are also supporting this international campaign.

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