The experiences and perceptions of heavy vehicle drivers and train drivers of dangers at railway level crossings
Davey, Jeremy D., Wallace, Angela M., Stenson, Nicholas J., & Freeman, James E. (2008) The experiences and perceptions of heavy vehicle drivers and train drivers of dangers at railway level crossings. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 40(3), pp. 1217-1222.
Heavy vehicle-train collisions have the potential to be catastrophic in terms of fatalities, environmental disaster, delays in the rail network, and extensive damage to property. Heavy vehicles, such as 'Road Trains' and 'B-Doubles', are vulnerable road users due to their size and mass and require specific risk management solutions. The present study aimed to capture the experiences of heavy vehicle drivers and train drivers at road-rail level crossings, with a view to exploring the contributing factors toward such accidents. A series of semi-structured focus groups were conducted, with a total of 17 train drivers and 26 heavy vehicle drivers taking part. Though there were some differences between the groups in perceptions of the causes of heavy vehicle level crossing incidents, discussion in both groups centred on design issues and behavioural issues. With regard to design, the configuration of level crossings was found to affect heavy vehicle driver visibility and effective vehicle clearance. With regard to behaviour, discussion centred around wilful violation of crossing protocols, often as a time-saving measure, as well as driver complacency due to high levels of familiarity. The implications of these factors for future level crossing safety initiatives are discussed.
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