Thursday 9 Jun 2011
NETWORK RAIL AND BTP LAUNCH LEVEL CROSSING SAFETY DRIVE
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:
- Broughty Ferry
- 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*.
Notes to editors
* The Highways Code says:
A level crossing is where a road crosses a railway or tramway line. Approach and cross it with care. Never drive onto a crossing until the road is clear on the other side and do not get too close to the car in front. Never stop or park on, or near, a crossing.
Overhead electric lines. It is dangerous to touch overhead electric lines. You MUST obey the safe height warning road signs and you should not continue forward onto the railway if your vehicle touches any height barrier or bells. The clearance available is usually 5 metres (16 feet 6 inches) but may be lower.
[Laws RTA 1988 sect 36, TSRGD 2002 reg 17(5)]
Controlled crossings. Most crossings have traffic light signals with a steady amber light, twin flashing red stop lights (see 'Light signals controlling traffic' and 'Warning signs') and an audible alarm for pedestrians. They may have full, half or no barriers.
· you MUST always obey the flashing red stop lights
· you MUST stop behind the white line across the road
· keep going if you have already crossed the white line when the amber light comes on
· do not reverse onto or over a controlled crossing
· you MUST wait if a train goes by and the red lights continue to flash. This means another train will be passing soon
· only cross when the lights go off and barriers open
· never zig-zag around half-barriers, they lower automatically because a train is approaching
· at crossings where there are no barriers, a train is approaching when the lights show
[Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10 & 40]
Railway telephones. If you are driving a large or slow-moving vehicle, a long, low vehicle with a risk of grounding, or herding animals, a train could arrive before you are clear of the crossing. You MUST obey any sign instructing you to use the railway telephone to obtain permission to cross. You MUST also telephone when clear of the crossing if requested to do so.
[Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10 & 16(1)]
Crossings without traffic lights. Vehicles should stop and wait at the barrier or gate when it begins to close and not cross until the barrier or gate opens.
User-operated gates or barriers. Some crossings have ‘Stop’ signs and small red and green lights. You MUST NOT cross when the red light is showing, only cross if the green light is on. If crossing with a vehicle, you should
· open the gates or barriers on both sides of the crossing
· check that the green light is still on and cross quickly
· close the gates or barriers when you are clear of the crossing
[Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10 & 52(2)]
If there are no lights, follow the procedure in Rule 295. Stop, look both ways and listen before you cross. If there is a railway telephone, always use it to contact the signal operator to make sure it is safe to cross. Inform the signal operator again when you are clear of the crossing.
Open crossings. These have no gates, barriers, attendant or traffic lights but will have a ‘Give Way’ sign. You should look both ways, listen and make sure there is no train coming before you cross.
Incidents and breakdowns. If your vehicle breaks down, or if you have an incident on a crossing you should
· get everyone out of the vehicle and clear of the crossing immediately
· use a railway telephone if available to tell the signal operator. Follow the instructions you are given
· move the vehicle clear of the crossing if there is time before a train arrives. If the alarm sounds, or the amber light comes on, leave the vehicle and get clear of the crossing immediately
The global leader in satellite navigation, Garmin Ltd. and its subsidiaries have designed, manufactured, marketed and sold navigation, communication and information devices and applications since 1989 – most of which are enabled by GPS technology. Garmin’s products serve automotive, mobile, wireless, outdoor recreation, marine, aviation, and OEM applications. Garmin Ltd. is incorporated in Switzerland, and its principal subsidiaries are located in the United States, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. For more information visit Garmin's media centre at http://garmin.blogs.com/ukpr. Garmin is a registered trademark of Garmin Ltd. or its subsidiaries. All other brands, product names, company names, trademarks and service marks are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved
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 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.