By Juliano Oliveira
A person is killed or injured on the Australian rail network every 2.5 days, expressing a dismal gap overlooked by the authorities and commuters.
TrackSAFE Foundation rolls out this week ‘Stay Rail Safe’ every day, as it shines the spotlight on encouraging commuters to be more aware and alert around rail tracks at all times.
Data from the organisation shows that there are 109 fatalities on the Australian rail network each year, with 76 of these people taking their own lives. The attempt of suicides number indicates around 30 injuries at level crossings or because of trespass and about 2,000 level crossing and trespass near hits.
“A moment of distraction can change your life, and unsafe actions also affect a train or tram driver and other rail worker’s lives forever,“ TrackSAFE Foundation Executive Director, Heather Neil, said.
Rail Safety Ambassador and Paralympian Vanessa Low will share her lived experience as a rail accident survivor and the importance of safety around the rail.
At 15 years of age, Vanessa lost both of her legs when she fell from an overcrowded platform into the path of an oncoming train. She confessed to not being aware of the dangers of just being present in the rail environment.
“Regardless of how busy we are, what matters is being aware and present in our day to day lives. I never truly understood at the time prior to my rail accident the responsibility we all have every time we step onto that rail platform for ourselves and others around us.
“I was too close to the platform edge, lost my balance and fell into the path of the oncoming train. I was in a coma for two weeks, and it took two years to learnt to walk again. Whilst I live a full and great life, I don’t want others to have to learn this hard lesson like I had to,” said Vanessa Low.
“My accident did not just impact me but also my family and friends who had to learn to adapt to my new life just as much as I did. I am urging all Australians to make sure they Stand back, Look up and always Stay Rail Safe.”
Rail Safety Week runs from Monday 9 August 2021 until Sunday 15 August 2021.