9 June 2011
AA warns drivers against playing russian roulette
The AA is warning drivers not to play Russian Roulette with their lives and the lives of others on International Level Crossing Awareness day - 9 June 2011.
In the UK the number of motorists taking illegal and dangerous risks at level crossings is rising. Network Rail has said near-misses with trains increased from 140 in 2009 to 161 last year - a jump of 15%.
The number of near-misses involving pedestrians and trains rose from 270 in 2009 to 297 last year, but there were fewer vehicle collisions and deaths.
Pedestrians crossed when unsafe to do so on 768 further occasions, and road vehicles an additional 748 times.
BTP works with AA DriveTech to offer educational courses to marginal offenders. However, the more serious offenders can expect a fine and points on their driving licence, or court
Edmund King, AA president
Collisions between road vehicles and trains tell from 14 in 2009 to seven last year, and deaths from 13 to four over the same period. Total incidents of recorded misuse at levels crossings rose from 3,244 in 2009 to 3,446 last year.
Edmund King, AA president, said:
“The AA and AA DriveTech are working with the British Transport Police to raise awareness of the dangers of drivers taking risks at level crossings. Drivers are playing Russian Roulette with their own lives and the lives of others by ignoring crossing warning signs.”
The British Transport Police will be targeting drivers at various crossings on International Level Crossing Awareness Day.
Superintendent for operations, Paul Brogden, said: “Incredibly some people are still putting their lives on the line by ignoring warning lights and sirens and trying to dash through crossings when trains are approaching. This is hugely irresponsible and dangerous and we will not hesitate to take action against anyone caught doing so.
“Level crossings – and other crossings where road, footpaths and rail cross – are designed to keep people safe. And, when used correctly, that is exactly what they do. But, as the figures suggest, when people ignore the warnings, there can be fatal consequences.
“We will continue to work closely with the local police forces and Network Rail to improve knowledge and, where necessary, to take action against those who continue to misuse crossings.
“Those who flout the law and ignore the crossing signs can expect action to be taken against them.
Officers from British Transport Police will be stationed at various level crossings throughout the day to enforce the law and provide advice to motorists.
Some offenders may also be offered the opportunity to attend a Level Crossing Awareness Course, run by AA DriveTech, and designed to change driving behaviour by giving motorists a fuller understanding of the dangers and potential consequences of failing to comply with automatic level crossing signals.
David Richards, from AA DriveTech, said:
“Level crossings are one of the few places where one motorist’s decisions can affect the safety of many, many people. Our Level Crossing Awareness Course provides drivers with information to make good driving decisions and also highlights the potentially disastrous consequences of making bad ones. We don’t lecture or preach. Ultimately, we want drivers to realise for themselves that jumping a level crossing is just not worth it”.