TRAM drivers are having to use their emergency brake at least once a week due to motorists and pedestrians coming into the path of their oncoming vehicles.
The string of near-collisions has forced Newcastle Transport operator Keolis Downer to launch a safety campaign on the eve of the second anniversary of light rail services commencing.
The operator has produced a series of advertisements that liken pulling up a tram at short notice to stopping a herd of 30 rhinos.
"Every day there are close calls on the network with motorists running red lights and pedestrians stepping out in front of trams," Keolis Downer Hunter general manager Mark Dunlop said.
"The rhino is a unique way to create a clear image in people's minds of the size and danger posed by a tram.
"Similar to a herd of charging rhinos, trams can't divert from the tracks to avoid an obstacle and it takes time to stop because of the weight."
Mr Dunlop said over the last two years, the emergency brake has had to be used at least once every week to avoid a collision.
"Forcing a tram to stop doesn't just affect the motorist or pedestrian but also the tram driver and all the customers on board," he said.
"While our tram drivers do a great job in anticipating dangers, there are still instances when the emergency brake needs to be applied, affecting everyone on board.
"One moment or mistake could be a life changing event for everyone involved."
Similar campaigns have been run in Melbourne and on the Gold Coast.
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