Network Rail and the British Transport Police are marking today’s International Level Crossing Day of Action by holding a safety awareness drive at level crossings across Scotland.
Network Rail community safety and operations staff and BTP officers will be on hand at sites across the country to distribute information leaflets to drivers waiting at the crossings and answer motorists’ questions regarding the safe use of the infrastructure.
The awareness day will target the following crossings throughout the day:
Little Gennoch (Dumfries)
Level crossing abuse is the biggest outside risk to railway safety and the extent of the problem has been highlighted by recent BTP initiatives at Elgin and Broughty Ferry level crossings.
In monitoring operations earlier this year 84 offences were recorded at Elgin with 53 people subsequently being reported to the Procurator Fiscal for prosecution. At Broughty Ferry 46 offences were recorded and 31 people reported to the local Procurator Fiscal.
Mark Henderson, Network Rail community safety manager for Scotland, said: “Britain has a good safety record in comparison to many other countries but even one death is one too many. Jumping the lights and ignoring warning signs is sadly a sight we see all too often at level crossings.
“Crossings are safe to use when used correctly, but misuse can prove fatal. The message we are trying to spread is that running the risk at a level crossing is just not worth it. By trying to save a few seconds, you could end up seriously hurt or losing your life.”
Inspector Stuart Wilson, of British Transport Police, added: “While, our officers remain committed to detecting offenders, we will continue to work closely with Network Rail to reinforce the safety message and continue our educational approach that has an affect on driver behaviour.
“Despite repeated warnings and enforcement action, motorists and pedestrians continue to risk their lives and the lives of others at crossings by ignoring the relevant road traffic regulations. Those who flout the law and ignore the crossing signs can expect action to be taken against them.”
Scotland’s motorists are also set to benefit from a world-first in sat nav technology which will improve awareness of level crossings and encourage safer driving.
A free downloadable application which alerts drivers with a train whistle sound that they are approaching a level crossing has been developed by Network Rail and leading satellite navigation provider Garmin.
It is hoped the new technology will encourage safer motoring and reduce the number of incidents which cause damage, disruption and a number of deaths each year.
The free application can be downloaded onto Garmin nüvi or nüLink sat navs from its website. Similar to choosing options that alert you to approaching speed cameras, the device whistles like a train and an ‘X’ appears on the screen with the name of the level crossing so motorists can approach and cross with care*.