ACT News

Speeding Canberra teen almost killed by freight train

Police urge safe holiday driving after a Canberra teen escaped a fatal collision when speeding over a rail crossing.

Police have warned Canberra drivers against foolish speeding during the Christmas period on the day after a teenager narrowly avoided a high-speed collision with a freight train. 

ACT policing will join forces with their NSW counterparts for the fourth year of Operation Crossroads, an ongoing effort to promote road safety across Australia and New Zealand over the holidays.

United stand: ACT and NSW police are joining forces again this Christmas season to promote road safety.
United stand: ACT and NSW police are joining forces again this Christmas season to promote road safety. Photo: Matt Bedford

The campaign began on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after an almost fatal cautionary tale involving a 17-year-old Canberra driver.

Police say he was driving at 112km/h in a 60km/h zone at 2.30pm near the NSW town of Griffith on Monday and failed to stop at the level crossing, narrowly missing a freight train.

He was fined for exceeding the speed limit by more than 45km/h and for not stopping at a level crossing, and had his rights to drive in NSW withdrawn. But just three hours later he was found again behind the wheel of of a different motor vehicle at Moombooldool.

He was handed a court attendance notice for driving when his visiting privileges had been withdrawn, given bail and will appear in Griffith Local Court on March 4.

Speed on NSW roads will be an area of concern with so many people travelling for holidays and to visit family members for Christmas. National Road Safety Council statistics show that speeding accounts for 34 per cent of deaths on Australian roads.

ACT Policing Station Sergeant Rod Anderson said speed –along with drink driving, fatigue, incorrect use of seat belts and distractions – made up a 'fatal five' of risk factors.

"Many deaths and road injuries are preventable. A moment's distraction, a decision to drink and drive or foolishly speed can have dire consequences," Station Sergeant Anderson said.

Police are urging people taking trips over the holiday period to slow down and adhere to the speed limits, and be wary of the weather with storms forecast throughout NSW.

Drivers aged 17 to 25 are generally at more risk of dying, but drivers of all ages should stay focused and safe on the roads. Double demerit points are now effect from Tuesday through till January 3.

NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol Command's Assistant Commissioner John Hartley said many families were about travel to their Christmas destinations.

"We know everyone is excited about Christmas, being with family and wanting to spend the least amount of time on the road as possible," Assistant Commissioner Hartley said.

"However, that is no reason for travelling above the speed limit, especially when you consider that travelling above the speed limit is one of the leading factors of fatal and serious injury crashes."