Province Committed To Making Level Crossings Safer For All Commuters | Western Cape Government


Province Committed To Making Level Crossings Safer For All Commuters

3 June 2014

Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works

On 3 June 2014, as the world commemorates International Level Crossing Awareness Day, we are reminded of how dangerous level crossings can be when motorists and pedestrians fail to adhere to safety precautions. There is no more tragic reminder of such dangers than the tragic minibus taxi crash of 25 August 2010, at the Buttskop level crossing, where 10 school children were killed, and others injured.

With our partners at PRASA, and in municipal and national government, we continue to work together to ensure safety and compliance at all level crossings across the province, as well as moving towards a situation where fewer and fewer vehicles and people need to cross railway tracks.

One of the innovative ways in which we have addressed safety at level crossings in the City of Cape Town, in partnership with the City, has been the introduction of the CCTV level crossing camera enforcement project to monitor and prosecute level crossing offences.

This project was the first of its kind in South Africa at the time, and is now fully operational at the White Road and Buttskop level crossings.

 Fine notices issued to date:

  • White Road:   2242
  • Buttskop:          178

Fines issued start at R500.00 for failure to stop before crossing the level crossing, with the possibility of arrest for charges of reckless and negligent driving. We are confident that our efforts will see the necessary change in motorist behaviour which will ensure that we never again see a repeat of the past incidents at level crossings.

Our joint level crossing elimination projects, undertaken with PRASA, are well underway, with the Vlaeberg and Vlotternberg Road projects already under construction, the Koelenhof Road project in the planning phase, and others in the pipelines.

Together, we will explore all options available to improve safety and compliance at level crossings, as well as eliminating them where possible.

Level Crossing Facts and Safety Tips

  1. Safety at level crossings is predominantly governed by the principles contained in the South African Road Signs Manual - road signage and lights at level crossings are the primary indicators. Barriers/booms are affixed as an additional precaution.
  2. Train drivers are obligated to sound sirens on approach to level crossings.
  3. Trains operate with their head lights on as an additional safety measure.
  4. Trains LEGALLY have right of way at road/rail level crossing intersections.
  5. Trains operate on fixed infrastructure and cannot take evasive action during emergencies.
  6. A full train will take up to 500 meters to stop under emergency conditions.  
  7. Where level crossings are protected by lights and barriers, the lights will start flashing 30 seconds before an approaching train enters the level crossing intersection.
  8. Barriers drop 10 seconds before the train enters the intersection and remain closed until the last carriage safely clears the intersection. Lights continue to flash until the barrier lifts.
Media Enquiries: 

Siphesihle Dube
Spokesperson for the Minister of Transport and Public Works, Donald Grant
Ministry of Transport and Public Works
Cell: 084 233 3811
Tel: 021 483 8954