Wednesday 28 Sep 2016
Leeds residents risking lives through phone use on railways
New figures from Network Rail reveal that almost a quarter (22%) of adults in Leeds have reported a near miss or accident whilst using their mobile phone around the transport network.
Almost a third (32%) reported using their phone when catching or getting off a train and one in ten residents admitted to using their phone when at a level crossing.
While Britain still has the safest rail network in Europe, level crossings are one of the biggest public safety risks on the railway. Since 2012, there have been more than 31 instances of deliberate misuse at level crossings in Leeds, as well as 9 near misses.
Allan Spence, head of public and passenger safety at Network Rail, explains: “Many people are aware of the issue of mobile phone distraction for drivers, but it is very worrying that so many people admit to putting themselves at unnecessary risk by using their phone when crossing the railway.
“We are investing more than £100m to improve level crossing safety across Britain, but we also need everyone who uses level crossings to do their bit too. By paying attention to the warnings at level crossings and avoiding distractions, we can all keep ourselves out of harm’s way.”
Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), said: “As we advise drivers and pedestrians to avoid becoming distracted when they’re in a road environment, it’s essential that people are also fully aware of what’s happening around them when they use level crossings. Avoid being dangerously distracted by a mobile phone call, texting, using an app or listening to music through your headphones at a crossing so you’re well aware of what the warning lights, barriers and signs are telling you.
“Trains travel so fast that one could reach the crossing before you get to the other side if you cross when it’s not safe, and of course, the train has no chance of stopping or swerving to avoid a collision. Take special care at level crossings on footpaths, bridleways and other rights of way where there are no barriers or railway staff.”
To find out how to stay safe when using level crossings visit www.networkrail.co.uk/level-crossings
Notes to eds:
- Populus phone distraction survey of 2000 GB adults, 24-29th August 2016. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.populus.co.uk
- Network Rail level crossing data (2014-2016)
Guidance on level crossing use
- Most crossings have a sign and lights or bells that alert you if a train is coming. Many will also have gates that close when a train is coming. If this happens wait until the train has passed
- When crossing tracks at a railway crossing, you should: Stop and look both ways before crossing, listen for the train coming and for warning bells, if there are lights watch for them to flash
- Stand well back from the tracks if a train is going by
- Never try to cross the tracks if a train is coming. It can take up to one and a half miles for a train to come to a complete stop
- Always make sure there are no other trains coming before crossing
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain’s railway – the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts, and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.6bn journeys by rail every year - double the number of 1996 - and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We’re investing £38bn in the railway by 2019 to deliver more frequent, more reliable, safer services and brighter and better stations.
About Network Rail
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, there are more than 4.7 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.
We are building a better railway for a better Britain.