19th Nov, 2017

Incidents of near misses at level crossings involving children to 'significantly' rise during summer holidays, warns Network Rail

Craig Gibbons 14th Jul, 2017

NETWORK Rail has issued a warning to parents that the number of children involved in near misses on level crossings is set to rise significantly over the summer holidays.

New figures released from the rail operators reveal young people are more likely to have a near miss during August and early September.

Furthermore, the data also revealed more than two thirds (70 per cent) of near misses were due to distraction.

The top three distractions at level crossings have been highlighted as friends (40 per cent), headphones (20 per cent) and mobile phones (12 per cent).

Almost a third (29 per cent) of young adults admit to using their mobile phone while crossing the railway.

In the last five years there have been more than 2,000 incidents on level crossings involving young people.

Allan Spence, head of public and passenger safety at Network Rail, said: “Many people are aware of the issue of distraction for drivers, but it is very worrying that so many young adults admit to putting themselves at unnecessary risk by getting distracted when crossing the railway.

“We are investing more than £100million to improve level crossing safety across Britain as part of the Railway Upgrade Plan, but we also need everyone who uses level crossings to do their bit too.

“By paying attention to the warnings at level crossings and avoiding distractions, we canall keep ourselves out of harm’s way.”

To help combat the issue of distraction at level crossings, Network Rail and British Transport Police is embracing new technologies to help reach young people and make them more aware of the dangers.

The rail infrastructure company has produced a series of virtual reality films which can be used to educate children.

They are also introducing geo-targeting at a number of level crossings where phone distraction has been flagged as high risk which will alert people using their phones near level crossings to put them away.

Inspector Becky Warren from the British Transport Police added: “Level crossings are there to help people cross the railway when it is safe to do so but pedestrians need to pay full attention when they use them.

“Sadly, our officers know the tragedy families are faced with after a loved one is killed at a level crossing.

“A moment of distraction, be that checking a text or changing a song, can leave devastation and heartbreak for families.

“We regularly conduct operations at level crossings and run events across the country in conjunction with our partners in Network Rail to raise awareness on how to use crossings safely.”

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