More level crossing camera vans to deter misuse

Posted: 7 June 2012 | | No comments yet

More than 2,400 people have been caught and charged with breaking the law at level crossings…

Police Van and Level Crossing

More than 2,400 people have been caught and charged with breaking the law at level crossings by three Network Rail/BTP enforcement vans across London the south east and Scotland.

The figures have been released as Network Rail announced it will be rolling out 10 more vans across Britain this year to deter more motorists and pedestrians from taking a risk by darting across after the lights and klaxons have begun or even swerving around barriers. All routes will have at least one van with London North East and Anglia, three and two respectively, which have more than 2,800 level crossings.

Police Van and Level Crossing

Despite having a highly visible presence close to level crossings, British Transport Police officers, who operate the van, have caught and charged 2,452 people with various offences ranging from jumping the lights and driving through crossings as barriers come down to striking barriers, careless and dangerous driving and yellow box junction obstructions. The van on the Wessex, Sussex and Kent routes has been in operation since January 2011, with the vans operating in north London, Anglia and Scotland since the summer 2011. They are deployed at various level crossings across the routes where there are highest levels of misuse and locations allow.

Whilst the vans are still relatively new in operation Martin Gallagher, head of level crossings for Network Rail says they are helping to make a difference: “The vans are just one part of a much wider effort to make people more aware of how to safely use level crossings and the dangers and consequences of misusing them. We don’t want to catch anyone breaking the law at a level crossing but those that do often put themselves and others at risk and can delay trains and incur cost to us and the tax payer.

He added: “The van is there as a deterrent and people have told us they welcome its presence, but sadly sometimes it takes a fine or points on your licence to really get the message to hit home – better that than the worst outcome, which is being involved in a collision. We’re confident that as the vans become more widely known and seen, that they will help bring down the number of level crossing incidents and make level crossings safer.”

This announcement comes as Network Rail and British Transport Police support International Level Crossing Awareness Day (7th June). Around a dozen events are being held at level crossings across Britain, with community safety teams handing out leaflets, talking to users about how to safely cross the railway and inviting people to see the current camera vans in operation.

Chief Superintendent (Territorial Policing) Miles Flood of British Transport Police said: “The level crossings vans in use are already proving their worth. They are a useful additional tool for our officers in deterring as well as detecting motorists who continue to flout the law and misuse level crossings to save what may be only a few seconds and I welcome Network Rail’s further investment.

“International Level Crossing Awareness Day is an important date in our calendar and provides an ideal opportunity to work with Network Rail in getting the message across that risking your own life and the lives of others at level crossings is just not worth it.”

Camera enforcement van prosecution data

  • Total offences: 2,452
  • Motorists: 2,304
  • Pedestrians 148
  • Offenders live an average of 8.13 miles from the level crossing.
  • 53% of offenders are male, 47% female

The age group with the largest number of prosecutions is the 45-55 year olds with 28% of the total, with the 35-45s accounting for 25%.

Age of offender Total

  • 17-25 – 194
  • 25-35  – 382
  • 35-45  – 616
  • 45-55 – 677
  • 55-65 – 444
  • 65+ – 137
  • Total charged with Dangerous Driving 47
  • Total charged withCareless Driving 126
  • Total Section 36 RTA (red traffic light) 2,131
  • Total Vehicle Offences 2,304