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The ATSB has found that the driver of a motor vehicle fatally injured in a collision with a train on 5 June 2006, was under the influence of cannabis and probably distracted by his mobile telephone at about the time of the accident.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has released its report into the accident which occurred at a level crossing on Thurgoona Road on the northern outskirts of Albury at approximately 1:22 pm on 5 June 2006. The 1986 Holden Commodore drove at a steady speed of less than 60 km/h into the path of a Sydney bound CountryLink XPT passenger train which was travelling at between 120 and 130 km/h at the point of collision.

The Commodore was destroyed by the collision and the 19 year old male driver was thrown from the car and fatally injured. There were no physical injuries to witnesses, crew or passengers of the train.

The investigation found that the level crossings flashing lights and warning bells were operating at the time of the collision and that the train driver had sounded the trains horn when he realised the car was not going to stop at the lights.

Toxicology results from the fatally injured driver were positive for cannabis. The concentration of the drug in the drivers blood exceeded levels where studies have indicated performance impairment becomes truly prominent across all drivingrelated performance measures.

The investigation also found that the motor vehicle drivers mobile telephone probably rang at or around the time that the car was approaching Thurgoona Road level crossing. While the driver did not answer the call, the ringing telephone probably distracted him from the driving task.

The ATSB concluded it was likely that combined, these two factors contributed to the motor vehicle driver not responding appropriately to the level crossing flashing lights and bell, and subsequently driving into the path of the train.

The ATSB has recommended raising public awareness of the risks associated with cannabis use and mobile telephones with respect to driving performance. The investigation also noted that at the completion of the Albury Wodonga Hume Freeway Project (scheduled for mid 2007), the road bridge would result in the closure of the level crossing, achieve grade separation and eliminate the risk of future level crossing accidents at Thurgoona Road.

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Last update 01 April 2011