Tuesday 23 Jan 2018
VIDEO: Network Rail and British Transport Police issue warning to motorists as reckless driver sentenced for level-crossing crash
Network Rail and the British Transport Police have issued a warning to motorists after a reckless driver who crashed through a level-crossing barrier was handed an 18-month driving ban, ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £1000 in compensation.
Emanuel Goagara risked lives, caused more than 10 hours of delays across the rail network and cost taxpayers more than £60,000 after he drove his van through a level crossing in Sunningdale, Berkshire.
The van is seen approaching the crossing and increasing in speed, despite the warning lights being active for more than 10 seconds and the barrier nearly fully-lowered.
The vehicle can then be seen ripping off the lowered barrier as it careers across the track shortly before a train passes in July last year.
Network Rail and the British Transport Police have today condemned the actions of the driver and issued a further warning to motorists about the risk of misusing level crossings.
Mark O’Flynn, level crossing manager for Network Rail’s Wessex route, said:
“It is only through sheer luck this driver’s reckless actions did not cause serious injury, or worse. Not only did he put himself in danger, but passengers and railway staff were also put in harm’s way.
“People often underestimate the danger at crossings and how quickly trains are travelling, and when you don’t follow the rules, it’s not just your life you’re putting at risk. Saving a couple of minutes off your journey is simply not worth it.
“We’re investing more than £100 million to improve level crossing safety across Britain, but we need motorists, as well as pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders, to be responsible and alert at all times when using crossings.”
Investigating officer, PC Joel Freeman-White from British Transport Police, said:
“Level crossings are there for a reason and by ignoring the barrier and warning signs and continuing to drive over the railway track, Goagara put himself and others in danger, risking his life and that of the train driver and passengers.
“I’m pleased that he has been convicted of this criminal offence and hope that his case will be a warning to other motorists or pedestrians who might be tempted to misuse level crossings.
“Trains travel at high speeds and it is vital that drivers and pedestrians follow the warning signs at level crossings to avoid injury or even death.
“We don’t want to be knocking on doors to tell someone their loved one has been injured or killed as a result of misusing a level crossing.”
To find out more about safety at level crossings, visit: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/communities/safety-in-the-community/level-crossing-safety/
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.