Pedestrians wearing headphones targeted in new campaign

2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineAugust 14, 2017

A rise in rail incidents involving pedestrians wearing headphones is being targeted in a new safety campaign launched for Rail Safety Week.

KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy says there has been an increase in the number of people using smart phones/headphones and this appears to be causing distraction around railway tracks.

“A number of recent deaths have involved the use of headphones. These events cause an enormous amount of trauma for the victim‘s friends and family, the wider community and our people.

“This year‘s Rail Safety Week campaign focuses on the dangers posed by devices such as smartphones and headphones.

“For KiwiRail, safety is critical. We want everyone to come home safely at the end of the day, and to do that you need to take care round railway crossings,” says Reidy.

TrackSAFE Foundation NZ‘s manager Megan Drayton says three deaths at level crossings in the past 18 months reportedly involved the use of headphones.

“Near-misses are also on the rise. In 2005 there were nine near misses with pedestrians at level crossings. Last year there were 94, and there have already been 68 so far this year.”

“People are often on autopilot when they‘re familiar with an environment and don‘t remember to look up from their phones or remove their headphones when they approach a level crossing.

“Other factors are also feeding into this – growing populations, more train services and faster and quieter trains, particularly in Auckland and Wellington,” she says.

The Rail Safety Week campaign features up and coming Wellington band Drax Project in a social media video that highlights the importance of stopping the music as you approach the tracks.

Rail Safety Week is a nationwide campaign that raises awareness of safe behaviour around railway tracks. For further information, see