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Published on : Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Britain’s commuters are being warned to take care at level crossings on their journey home from work after new figures from Network Rail revealed that more than half of all near misses with trains at level crossings over the last five years took place during the evening rush hour.
To combat the problem and help improve the safety of everyone who travels on or across the railway, Network Rail today launched a new level crossing safety awareness campaign targeting commuters, reminding them to take care at level crossings, particularly as they travel home from work.
Britain has the safest major rail network in Europe but injuries and near misses on level crossings still occur – particularly at the beginning and end of the working day. In the last five years, there have been more than 500 near misses involving cyclists, motorists and pedestrians during the peak travel hours for commuters –7-9am and 4-7pm. Six out of every ten of these incidents (61%) occur during the evening rush hours.
The new campaign aims to encourage safer behaviour at level crossings, reminding everyone:
Amber warning lights at road level crossings means ‘stop – a train is coming’ *
Don’t rush and try and beat the barriers or other warning systems at level crossings
Beware of distractions such as phones or music
Never assume that there is only one train coming or think that you know the timetable to guess when a train might come
Network Rail’s campaign launch coincides with British Transport Police’s (BTP) Operation Look level crossing safety initiative. BTP and Network Rail safety teams will be at level crossings across Britain today handing out leaflets and travel card holders carrying key safety messages and giving advice on how to use level crossings safely to commuters and other level crossing users.
Darren Cottrell, head of level crossing safety at Network Rail, says: “Commuters want their journey to or from work to be as quick and easy as possible, and I understand they may find waiting at a level crossing an inconvenience especially after a hard day’s work. It is important that everyone understands that level crossing warnings are there to keep us all safe, so be vigilant and obey them – even if you’re in a hurry.
“Network Rail is investing more than £100m to improve level crossing safety across Britain, but we need motorists, cyclists and pedestrians 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.”