Thursday 7 Oct 2004

LEVEL CROSSING OFFENDERS IN THE HIGHLANDS EXPOSED

Region & Route:
Scotland
Network Rail and the British Transport Police today revealed that most offences at the Dingwall and Garve level crossing were committed by people from the Highlands.   More than 60 per cent of all prosecutions were committed by Highland residents,16 per cent by people from Dingwall.  The area of Ross-shire recorded 28 per cent of these. The statistics also exposed older drivers as the main culprits, with people aged over 40 committing more than double the number of level crossing crimes.  The figures were issued by Network Rail and the British Transport Police during a tour of the three level crossings in Dingwall by John Thurso, MP, the Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Transport and Scotland.  This is the first time the CCTV camera statistics have been released. John Thurso, MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Transport and Scotland commented:  “It’s encouraging to see at first hand the efforts being made by Network Rail and the British Transport Police and how such a simple device can be so effective.  This type of offence must be stamped out at all costs.”                                                                                                             Dingwall lx stats - 2                                                             Sgt Robert Cameron of the British Transport Police said:  “We have achieved a 76% hit rate in the number of prosecutions in the region and this is positive proof that the installation of CCTV cameras, is achieving results.  It is surprising to see that most of the offenders live locally and are older members of the community who should know better.  Hopefully as more people are caught and prosecuted, the incidence of this offence will decrease. For some reason many people choose to ignore the warning signals at level crossings and risk not only their own lives but those of the travelling public.  ” Network Rail’s Route Director, Scotland, Ron McAulay, said,  “We committed significant investment by putting in a number of CCTV camera units at level crossing ‘hot spots’ to try and combat this very serious problem.  It is heartening to see that they have helped to catch so many culprits who may not otherwise have been caught. “ Network Rail and the British Transport Police regularly run level crossing safety campaigns, the most recent taking place last month in Dingwall.  This included issuing leaflets to motorists reminding them of their legal responsibilities and highlighting the dangers of driver misuse and delivering them to local residents. 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.

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