Inattention is a major factor in more than 40 percent of serious and fatal injury collisions between vehicles and trains at railway level crossings, a new analysis of crash data shows.
The statistics are being rolled out as KiwiRail and TrackSafe NZ kick off a nationwide rail safety campaign to remind people to be alert at level crossings.
KiwiRail boss Peter Reidy says that message is especially important over the holiday period.
"While people are heading off on holidays, the trains are still working hard. If you're enjoying your drive, please stay switched on and focused," he said.
"When approaching railway tracks, always obey the signs and make sure your exit is clear before you cross the tracks."
Pedestrians are also being reminded to stay safe.
There have been more than 250 reports in 2015 of people illegally crossing railway tracks.
Around 60 of those were classified as a near miss.
"People should only cross tracks at designated pedestrian level crossings, where there are warning signs and signals to help people cross safely," Mr Reidy said.
"Trains are quiet, they move faster than they appear, and they take a long time to stop.
"In Auckland and Wellington in particular, the new electric trains are quiet, and often people do not hear them approaching."