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Causes of the Accident

Discuss about the Kerang Rail Crash In Australia.

Train crashes have become a common factor due to the prohibitions of the safety measures. In Australia, also many cases are found of railway accidents. These kinds of accidents mainly occurs due to trains travelling collision on the same tract, trains getting distracted due to some technical fault or because of landslides or any object obstructing the rail. Proper rescue measures are very much important like the responsibility of the commander and staffs of the railway and there must be certain principles for interventions that must be kept in mind (Maurino et al., 2017). However, rail industry safety and standard board (RISSB) in Australia is expanding a compact model of safety risk to meet the needs of this industry. The Australian rail risk model (ARRM) pulls the attention on the existing system to create a progressive data other than any organization can generate. However, Australia’s Rail Safety National Law permits an approach that is risk based for managing safety (Guo et al., 2014).

The incident chosen here is the Kerang train accident that took place in 5th of June 2007 at kerang 3579 in Australia. In the accident however, 11 passengers were dead and more than 23 passengers were found to be injured. It is said to be the life threaten disaster in Australia ever since 1977. The train was crowded with passengers when it was derailed at Granville in the west of Sydney (Curtis et al., 2012). According to reporters, victims did not have the necessary safety measures and was almost left for dying as the doctors, nurses and anesthetists were told to stay away from the area of accident. In case of this particular train crash, however it was said that the truck driver was deaf in one ear and had glasses and so he could not see any red light flashing when he did take a bend and he could not hear the train’s horn (Tung & Khattak, 2015). The coroner however said that if the truck driver had the warning two seconds earlier then this collision could have been avoided. It has further been said that in Australia maximum of the train crashes occurs due to collations that include trains and trucks. Thus, measures should be there to avoid all these.


As suggested by the statistics it has been said that every transport involves some risk or the other and so safety levels are accepted are not are to be looked by the government who must regulate against the potentially hazardous practices. A number of causes actually enhance the rail accidents like derailments, unmanned level crossings, collisions, train fires and accidents that took place due to the lapses of the railway staff. A number of accidents take place due to the signaling errors that are made by the train operators. The basic safety measures that every driver should keep in mind is firstly to drive defensively which means if the driver has the proper sense of safety then  the accidents are to be avoided, reaching the allotted destination is most important and so if any other vehicle is seen in a hurry thus they must not be obstinate. Speed limit should not be increased as because it is illegal as well as dangerous. The driver must be attentive and his focus should be on the roads while he is driving, seat belt should be worn and most importantly, if the driver is stresses or unwell then he should not be driving (Salmon et al., 2013). However, in cases of wet roads and bad weathers the driver should have slowed down the speed.

Safety Breaches

The main safety breaches that contributed to this particular train crash were firstly the delayed signaling from the part of the train driver. As the coroner states that if the signaling were done few seconds prior then this accident would have been controlled. The next thing is that the truck driver could not see the crossing lights that were flashing. It was reported that the truck driver was deaf in one ear and had glasses. However, people who have physical limitations can be dangerous and risky for causing accidents. According to another truck driver who was just behind the truck which got into accident said that he saw no break light before the crash. The truck went straight and hit the train at the crossing (Newnam & Goode, 2015).


After this terrible accident, strong new rules were made up for the roads along with flashing warning light and the rumble strips. Apart from this, those Victorian drivers who will race there transport to beat the train at the level crossing will definitely lose their license for a month of three  and may also face a fine of $3,300 under the crime of speeding to overcome the train. The state government has taken another measure where they established raised strips on the surface of the roads at every 200 crossings and flashing signs of warnings in the lead up to around 53 crossings, which include Kerang in the northern part of Victoria that comes under a package of multi-million dollar (Scott-Parker, Goode & Salmon, 2015). Further, around 1,300 level crossings will however be left passively protected with a give way or a stop sign. Another problem that the investigators came up with is the increased bad behavior of the driver. This excessive risk taking behavior from the drivers will however the highest concern for the Australian government. Thus, in every rail crossing especially on a highway of the regional Victoria will have this active protection. With growing technological advantages, the government is also working hard so that they can use the technology to warn the drivers of threatening level crossings. This will include the GPS devices in the truck so that it can alert drivers to the nearby crossings and radio conductor warnings at the level crossings that can disallow vehicle radios (Wullems et al., 2014).


However, the package of $33 million, which the government has come up with, they, will be including the ‘don’t risk it’ campaign of advertising and will increase the work at 75 crossings to clear the vegetation from the lines of vision. Addition to this there will be two new compliance cameras that will also be tested in the metropolitan crossing and in the regional crossing (Salmon et al., 2013). The new measures and policies also include the penalties that will be charged for every driver on the offences made by them at the level crossings. This package by the government will definitely enhance e the road safety in Victoria. However, the reasons that the public transport minister said are the main cause of the accident were inattentiveness, the drivers attitude flout the law and those drivers who have no awareness about the requirements. Thus, keeping these in mind the policies and practices are implemented. Therefore, Victorian government considered of buying technology overseas that will help the truck drivers get the warnings through their radios when the trains will be approaching at the level crossing. Thus, according to the transport minister there must be audible warning to the truck drivers who will be approaching the tracks when the trains are close (Wullems, Nikandros & Nelson-Furnell, 2013). 

Measures Taken by the Australian Government


According to the rail safety experts, they think that there are requirements of more improvement in the safety measures at the level crossings that must involve an installation of boom gates at each level crossing. Presently, the government has already made significant improvements, which are dictating in the $30 million in upgrading level crossings all over the state. The rumble strips that were promised are all in place today. The automated updated warning signs are also being regularly rolled out all over the state. The speed limits have also been reduced at majority of the level crossings and there has been increased law enforcement and penalties (Glendon, Clarke & McKenna, 2016). However, after implementing these policies, which were enhancing the crossings in Victoria and introduction of rumble strips, the crashes at the level crossings had really fallen as compare to the previous number of accidents. They also intended to improve the maintenance and regulations industries that are of heavy vehicles and the penalties that would be imposed for the breaches of standards will definitely enhance in the next few years. Safety has always been the concern of the Australian government at the level crossings and so they are always fighting to continue for improvements that they can make at the level crossings to prevent the accidents (Flammini, 2012).

To conclude the essay it can be said that kerang train accident that took place in 5thJune 2007 actually shook the Victorian government and forced them to take possible measures so that the train crashes are minimized. This train crash was a massive one as the truck hit the train because he could not hear the warning signal nor he could see the flashing light that the train is approaching. Reports say that 11 passengers were death and more than 23 passengers were injured. It was also said that the injured did not get proper and on time medical facilities else conditions of the victims would have been better. However, the government was active enough to implement new policies and took right measures so that safety of the passengers as well as the drivers can be enhance and the accidents can be prevented.

References

Curtis, K., Caldwell, E., Delprado, A., & Munroe, B. (2012). Traumatic injury in Australia and New Zealand. Australasian emergency nursing journal, 15(1), 45-54.

Flammini, F. (Ed.). (2012). Railway Safety, Reliability, and Security: Technologies and Systems Engineering: Technologies and Systems Engineering. IGI Global.

Glendon, A. I., Clarke, S., & McKenna, E. (2016). Human safety and risk management. Crc Press.

Guo, F., Chang-Richards, Y., Wilkinson, S., & Li, T. C. (2014). Effects of project governance structures on the management of risks in major infrastructure projects: A comparative analysis. International Journal of Project Management, 32(5), 815-826.

Maurino, D. E., Reason, J., Johnston, N., & Lee, R. B. (2017). Beyond aviation human factors: Safety in high technology systems. Routledge.

Newnam, S., & Goode, N. (2015). Do not blame the driver: a systems analysis of the causes of road freight crashes. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 76, 141-151.

Salmon, P. M., Lenné, M. G., Young, K. L., & Walker, G. H. (2013). An on-road network analysis-based approach to studying driver situation awareness at rail level crossings. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 58, 195-205.

Salmon, P. M., Read, G. J., Stanton, N. A., & Lenné, M. G. (2013). The crash at Kerang: Investigating systemic and psychological factors leading to unintentional non-compliance at rail level crossings. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 50, 1278-1288.

Scott-Parker, B., Goode, N., & Salmon, P. (2015). The driver, the road, the rules… and the rest? A systems-based approach to young driver road safety. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 74, 297-305.

Tung, L. W., & Khattak, A. (2015). Distracted motor vehicle driving at highway–rail grade crossings. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, (2476), 77-84.

Wullems, C., Nikandros, G., & Nelson-Furnell, P. (2013). How safe is safe enough?: a socio-technical view of low-cost level crossing safety.

Wullems, C., Wayth, R., Galea, V., & Nelson-Furnell, P. (2014). In-vehicle railway level crossing warning systems: can Intelligent Transport Systems deliver?. CORE 2014: Rail Transport For A Vital Economy, 592.

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