The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has called for tram cams, and stronger enforcement of road rules to improve tram passenger safety.
Australian road rules state that motorists are required to stop when trams stop, to allow passengers to board and alight safely.
“This is a rule often broken, with potentially fatal results”, said PTUA spokesperson Daniel Bowen. “There is an urgent need for firm action to protect passengers.
“In the long term, more accessible tram platform stops will help safety, but the progress on these is incredibly slow.”
In November a passenger was struck by a car in Parkville, ‘with witnesses claiming the driver failed to stop when passengers were getting off a tram’.
A recent 3 day police operation saw 14 motorists issued with infringement notices for overtaking stopped trams, but Mr Bowen said it was the tip of the iceberg, with Yarra Trams figures recording hundreds of incidents every year.
A 2016 study noted that tram drivers also have concerns about passenger safety when motorists overtake trams, with one commenting: “At road side stops, motorist(s) don’t stop. … At that moment as a tram driver you feel very useless and try to help people. You gong and they don’t listen.” 
Mr Bowen said that road safety cameras have long been used to catch motorists running red lights and speeding, and that they should also be used to protect tram passengers.
A trial in 2013 using external cameras fitted to E-class trams  ended without a rollout plan.
“There are now over 80 E-class trams in service with cameras fitted, as well as 35 C-class trams with cameras. It’s time to start using them, as well as getting more cameras fitted to the rest of the tram fleet.
“A combination of cameras fitted to trams, and fixed cameras at known hotspots such as Royal Parade, with fines issued for breaking the law, would send a strong message to motorists, and help improve safety.
“It’s not okay to recklessly try and beat the tram, and it’s not okay to overtake when it’s stopped.
“The consequences of breaking this rule can be fatal, and it’s time that authorities cracked down on this dangerous driving,” concluded Mr Bowen.
Youtube clips of motorists failing to give way to tram passengers:
 Road Safety Rules 2017 – Reg 163
 The Age 27/11/2019 – Tram passenger in critical condition after passing car ‘failed to stop’
 Mirage News 29/11/2019 – Police call out poor driver behaviour near trams (Victoria Police media release)
 Monash University November 2016 – Exploring the key challenges in tram driving and crash risk factors on the Melbourne tram network: tram driver focus groups – Road safety issues at tram stops
 Herald Sun 23/11/2013: Drivers warned trams are watching them
Coverage of this story:
- Herald Sun 24/12/2019 – Urgent call for cameras on Melbourne trams