Thursday 7 Jun 2012


Region & Route:
| Eastern: Anglia
| Eastern

More than 1,900 people have been caught and charged with offences at level crossings in Kent, Sussex and Wessex thanks to a specialist enforcement van operated by Network Rail and British Transport Police.

The latest figures coincide with an announcement by Network Rail that two more enforcement vans will be in operation across London and the south east later this year.

The news means Kent, Sussex and Wessex will all have a dedicated vehicle from summer 2012 to deter motorists and pedestrians from taking level crossing risks.

Despite being highly visible when parked near to level crossings, BTP officers, who operate the van, have caught and charged 1,818 motorists with a range of offences including jumping the lights and driving through crossings as the barriers come down, striking barriers, careless and dangerous driving and yellow box junction obstructions.

A total of 104 pedestrians were also charged with running across level crossings once the warning lights and sounds had started.

The figures were collected between January 2011 and May 2012 when the safety van was used at various level crossings.

The publishing of the figures coincides with Network Rail and British Transport Police’s support of International Level Crossing Awareness Day which takes place today (7th June).

Martin Gallagher, Network Rail’s head of level crossings, said: “The vans are just one part of a much wider effort to make people more aware of how to safely use level crossings and the dangers and consequences of misusing them.

“We don’t want to catch anyone breaking the law at a level crossing but those that do often put themselves and others at risk and can delay trains and incur costs to us and the tax payer.

“The van is there as a deterrent and people have told us they welcome its presence, but sadly sometimes it takes a fine or points on your licence to really get the message to hit home - better that than the worst outcome, which is being involved in a collision. We’re confident that as the vans become more widely known and seen, that they will help bring down the number of level crossing incidents and make level crossings safer.”

Chief superintendent (territorial policing) Miles Flood, of British Transport Police, said: “The level crossings vans in use are already proving their worth. They are a useful additional tool for our officers in deterring as well as detecting motorists who continue to flout the law and misuse level crossings to save what may be only a few seconds and I welcome Network Rail’s further investment.

“International Level Crossing Awareness Day is an important date in our calendar and provides an ideal opportunity to work with Network Rail in getting the message across that risking your own life and the lives of others at level crossings is just not worth it.”

Camera enforcement van prosecution data:

Total offences: 1,922

Motorists: 1,818

Pedestrians: 104

Offenders live an average of 4.7 miles from the level crossing they commit an offence at.

Offences by age group:

17 - 25: 157

25 - 35: 279

35 - 45: 505

45 - 55: 521

55 - 65: 366

65+: 94

Prosecutions by offence:

Total dangerous driving: 41

Total careless driving: 72

Total Section 36 RTA (red traffic light): 1705

Total vehicle offences: 1818

Notes to editors

1) The camera enforcement vans’ data has been collated from the respective roll out dates to 14 May 2012.

2) This work is running in parallel with other Network Rail and industry initiatives to minimise the safety risk at level crossings. These include:

Network Rail’s dedicated community safety team which aims to reduce railway crime
Level crosing closure programme which has seen more than 500 closed over the past three years
Investment in upgrading and improving level crossings
National advertising, marketing and media campaign
Developing better and cost-effective ways of detecting and recording level crossings misuse
Working with the Police and Crown Prosecution Service to improve the prosecution of offenders

3) The UIC and the railway community, in conjunction with a rising number of road sector organisations, the European Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), have established the ILCAD (International Level Crossing Awareness Day) campaign to raise awareness among road users and pedestrians of the risks at level crossings and to change their behaviour.

4) The breakdown of information is as detailed as is currently available. When the new level crossing safety vans are introduced, Network Rail will work towards providing more route-specific information, as well as details for specific level crossings.

Contact information

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