Monday 20 Sep 2004

DRIVERS WARNED AT LEVEL CROSSING BLACKSPOT

Region & Route:
Scotland
Network Rail is targeting motorists and residents in Dingwall with a warning about the dangers of level crossing misuse. A strongly-worded message reminds drivers to treat the red crossing light as a red traffic light and stop their vehicle. Level crossing crime statistics triggered the campaign. In 2003, 455 motorists were photographed breaking the law at level crossings in Scotland. And in the first six months of this year there have been 39 incidences of drivers committing offences in Dingwall. Representatives of Network Rail and the British Transport Police are visiting Dingwall on 24 September to get the safety message across. Leaflets reminding motorists of their legal responsibilities and highlighting the dangers of driver misuse will be handed to crossing users and delivered to local residents. Sgt Robert Cameron of the British Transport Police, whose beat includes Dingwall, said, “One of the most rewarding parts of being a police officer within the Highlands is getting out there and meeting people within my community. One of the worst parts is meeting families and having to explain that someone has been killed or seriously injured, that the family car is damaged beyond all hope of repair and that they will probably be making the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper. Why?  Because the driver didn’t look at the colour of the lights at the level crossing ahead. More…../ Dingwall lx - 2 “Just take a minute to look for those flashing red lights at the level crossing, obey the speed limit and give yourself plenty of time to stop. Don’t become another accident statistic.” Network Rail’s Route Director, Scotland, Ron McAulay, said,  “Level crossings are safe for both road and rail users if used properly.  Most of the problems are caused by drivers ignoring the rules. “Nearly a third of all train collisions in the UK are caused by motorists on level crossings, and the risk of fatality in a train/road vehicle collision is about 40-45 times greater than a conventional road traffic accident. It is imperative that tougher penalties are imposed in order to effectively deter offenders.   Often the minimum fines are given which doesn’t reflect the serious nature of these criminal acts.”

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