NZ Police urge patience and alertness at train crossings

The Morningside rail crossing. NZ Police has observed a steady increase in reported incidents of vehicles failing to obey rail crossing lights, and in some cases barrier arms. Picture: RNZ

REPORTS of vehicles failing to obey rail crossing lights, and in some cases barrier arms, have heightened Police concerns in New Zealand’s Southern District, that it now says it is only a matter of time before they will have to attend a serious incident.
The Southern District Police have, of late, observed a steady increase in the number of reported incidents where drivers are “literally risking life and death for the sake of waiting for a minute or less”.
Senior Sergeant Jared Kirk said motorists needed to realise that it was very difficult to estimate a train’s speed, and it had absolutely no ability to stop quickly should they need to do so.
He said it was a stressful place for train drivers to be.
“When they approach a crossing, they see motorists going through a thought process about whether they should rush across the tracks or comply with the flashing lights,” Snr Sgt Kirk said.
“Another point motorists might not realise is that due to a partnership with KiwiRail, incidents are recorded by train drivers and forwarded to Police for follow up.
“This includes the capturing of vehicle registrations.”
Senior Sergeant noted the ‘See something do something’ national campaign, saying Police would be monitoring driving behaviour around level crossings and looking into any reported incidents, and dealing with them accordingly.