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Police crackdown on Blythe Bridge’s Level Crossing

By MIG: Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: April 06, 2013

Network Rail and British Transport Police raising awareness of crossing safety.

Network Rail and British Transport Police raising awareness of crossing safety.

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MOTORISTS and pedestrians using the level crossing on Uttoxeter Road, Blythe Bridge, have been reminded of the need to do so safely by police and rail teams.

The level crossing is protected by lights, audible warning and full barriers which cover the full width of the road, yet cameras at the site record around 15 incidents of misuse every week.

Teams from Network Rail and British Transport Police (BTP) were on site between 7am and 1pm and on Wednesday 27 March, along with a purpose-built marked police van in Tesco's car park, which has been funded by Network Rail to help BTP to catch and prosecute those who misuse level crossings.

The van has nine cameras, each of which uses number plate recognition technology to deter motorists from breaking the law, and is operated by BTP officers and has access to all the systems required to process prosecutions instantly.

The van is based in the East Midlands and is deployed to crossings around the region.

Network Rail's route managing director, Martin Frobisher, said: "The safety of people on and around our railway is absolutely paramount, yet every day we see someone risking their lives, and potentially those of others, at this crossing.

"Our cameras regularly record people jumping the lights, weaving around the barriers when they are descending and speeding through at highly dangerous speeds.

"We appreciate that the delay to your journey caused by waiting for the crossing can be frustrating, but it is essential people remember that it is there to protect them from trains which can weigh several hundred tons and take the length of up to 20 football pitches to stop."

Inspector Tracy Metcalf, from BTP, added: "The aim of the event is to reduce the number of incidents at Blyth Bridge crossing by making the public more aware of the potential dangers, and showing them how to use the crossing safely.

"We are more interested in preventing accidents and saving lives than enforcement.

"BTP takes level crossing misuse across the country very seriously. In comparison with most other countries we have a good safety record, but misuse of crossing persists, despite our best efforts, and even one injury or death is one too many.

"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."

Inspector Metcalf added: "People who misuse level crossings are not only putting themselves in harm's way they are also risking potential injury to the staff and passengers on board the trains.

"If a train collides with a car that has tried to dodge the barriers, there is a very real danger of derailment which could lead to serious injuries to those on board."

Since November 26, 2012, 158 red light offences have been captured at Blythe Bridge.

Of those, 29 are dangerous driving, going through as barrier descending rather than just lights flashing, some of the most recent incidents are listed below:

10:42:11 - 18/03/2013 - Car went through the crossing while lights were red.

10:42:13 - 18/03/2013 - Car went through the crossing while lights were red.

10:42:16 - 18/03/2013 - Car went through the crossing while Barrier was descending.

14:42:57 - 19/03/2013 - Car went through the crossing while lights were red.

16:41:51 - 19/03/2013 - Car went through the crossing while lights were red.

17:21:36 - 19/03/2013 - Car went through the crossing while lights were red.

09:42:42 - 20/03/2013 - Car went through the crossing while lights were red.

10:42:16 - 20/03/2013 - Car went through the crossing while Barrier was descending

11:17:53 - 20/03/2013 - Car went through the crossing while lights were red.

18:21:31 - 20/03/2013 - Car went through the crossing while lights were red.

21:26:06 - 20/03/2013 - Car went through the crossing while lights were red.

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