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Railway crossing deaths caused by not obeying signs

Jun 15, 2023 | In The Media

The eight deaths at level crossings recorded by the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) in its 2021/22 report were often caused by motorists and pedestrians disregarding level crossing regulations.

This is according to the regulator’s spokesperson Madelein Williams. The State of Safety Report released on Wednesday noted an overall 4% increase in level crossing incidents between 2020/21 and 2021/22. In its previous 2020/21 report, the RSR had recorded 20 deaths at level crossings.

“About 47 injuries were recorded between 2020/21 and 2021/22, a concerning number that undermines the RSR’s efforts to promote awareness of rail safety at level crossings,” Williams said.

The results of the report were released ahead of events marking International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD), a global event held annually in June to raise awareness about level crossing safety.

This year’s event taking place in the Nothern Cape is scheduled to happen at the main crossing in Ulco which is used by both pedestrians, including school children, and motorists, making it a busy intersection that poses potential risks in terms of level crossing incidents.

Africa’s largest private freight rail operator, Traxtion, is set to push an awareness campaign out to motorists and pedestrians about level crossing safety working along with the Rail Safety Regulator and construction materials group AfriSam.

Former train driver and current compliance manager at Traxtion, Thando Makoyi, advised communites to obey level crossing rules and signages provided to ensure safety.

“Not only are we responsible for our own employees, but we make sure that all our visitors, contractors and road users crossing railway lines we operate on go home to their loved ones every day,” said Makoyi.

“We call on all rail operators to join us in the awareness campaign and to be compliant with the safety regulations required to ensure safe passage for the public and railway operators at level crossings,” she said.

AfriSam quality assurance manager Nathi Shoba said AfriSam believes in ‘Zero Harm’ to people, and as such, the safety of its people and the community within which it operates is its number one priority. “This is all about saving lives, and for this reason, we are extremely proud to play our part on International Level Crossing Awareness Day.”