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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 9 (April 1, 1931)

Recklessness at Railway Crossings

page 6

Recklessness at Railway Crossings

An astonishing revelation of negligence by motorists is contained in a bulletin issued by the Board of Railway Commissioners of Canada, entitled “Dangerous Practices of Motorists, Drivers of other Vehicles, and of Pedestrians at Railway Crossings” (says the Canadian National Railways Magazine).

The dangerous practices listed, with license number of the automobile, in this bulletin, make suggestive reading. Among those in Ontario are: “Crossing gates were down, bell ringing, red lanterns burning, automobile crashed through gate arms”; “disregarded watchman's stop sign and crossed tracks in front of yard engine”; “motor truck towing other truck stopped with front wheels on crossing, attempted to back clear but could not, was struck and thrown against other truck, both being damaged”; “automobile travelling at fairly high speed struck engine, driver tried to beat train to crossing, speed of train six m.p.h.”; “automobile drove through gates, driver claimed brakes not working properly”; “drove under gates when they were being lowered, tearing top off automobile”; “driver did not notice gates were down and ran through both, demolishing them”; “driver stopped and started again, apparently intending to cross ahead of train, but motor stalled and engine struck truck.” The other provinces present many similar cases with added vagaries of their own.

Motor accidents of this type are becoming more frequent, and the bulletin expresses the hope that publicity will be given to them in the expectation that motorists and others may be educated to be more careful. The newspapers have already published reports of them, and when unfortunately necessary, have also reported the evidence at coroners’ inquests. Notwithstanding these warnings and the existence of safety devices and cautionary signals, many people take chances against an approaching engine or train. The only thing to do with the survivors is to deprive them of the right to drive before they kill others as well as themselves.