DRIV­ERS ‘RISK­ING LIVES’

Warn­ing as num­ber of driv­ers tak­ing chances at rail­way level cross­ings is on the rise

Bangor Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Sarah Hodg­son

DRIV­ERS are be­ing warned not to take po­ten­tially lethal risks on level cross­ings fol­low­ing a rise in in­ci­dents on An­gle­sey.

Mo­torists have been tak­ing chances by driv­ing through level cross­ings at Gaer­wen and Val­ley when red lights are on or bar­ri­ers are com­ing down, rail bosses said.

Net­work Rail, Bri­tish Trans­port Po­lice and Ar­riva Trains Wales said there have been 10 recorded in­ci­dents since April this year at the two cross­ings.

Nathan Lewis, Bri­tish Trans­port Po­lice PCSO re­spon­si­ble for An­gle­sey, said: “Level cross­ings are com­mon­place on our roads and are there to keep peo­ple safe.

“We un­der­stand that wait­ing at a cross­ing can be frus­trat­ing, but sec­ond guess­ing when a train is due through sim­ply isn’t worth the risk. We con­tinue to work closely with Net­work Rail to im­prove knowl­edge and, where nec­es­sary, to take ac­tion against those who con­tinue to mis­use Gaer­wen and Val­ley level cross­ings.

“We have also teamed up with col­leagues from North Wales Po­lice in An­gle­sey to jointly pa­trol both ar­eas and have worked to raise aware­ness among res­i­dents. How­ever, de­spite on­go­ing warn­ings, some mo­torists are still con­tin­u­ing to risk their lives by mis­us­ing the cross­ings. Ed­u­ca­tion is key to ev­ery­thing we do - we are more in­ter­ested in pre­vent­ing ac­ci­dents and sav­ing lives than en­force­ment. By in­form­ing peo­ple of the po­ten­tial dan­gers of mis­us­ing cross­ings, and how to use them safely, we aim to re­duce in­ci­dents at both these sites. How­ever, driv­ers who flout the law and place them­selves and oth­ers in dan­ger should be in no doubt that, if caught, they will be pros­e­cuted. Tak­ing a chance at a cross­ing can have dire con­se­quences. Stop, think and be sen­si­ble, be­cause one mo­ment of im­pa­tience could re­sult in lives be­ing de­stroyed.”

Bethan Jelfs, Cus­tomer Ser­vices Di­rec­tor for Ar­riva Trains Wales, added: “Driv­ing through a level cross­ing when the lights are on red or the bar­ri­ers are com­ing down puts not just your­self and your pas­sen­gers at risk, but also the lives of ev­ery­one on the ap­proach­ing train.

“We are work­ing closely with Net­work Rail and Bri­tish Trans­port Po­lice to help spread this mes­sage.

“It’s re­ally im­por­tant that driv­ers take it on board.

“Try­ing to make a sav­ing of a cou­ple of min­utes is just not worth it.”

Stephen Jones, level cross­ing man­ager for Net­work Rail Wales and Borders, added: “Safety is our top pri­or­ity.

“I can­not stress enough how im­por­tant it is that peo­ple use level cross­ings cor­rectly.

“Driv­ing over a cross­ing when the lights are red or the bar­ri­ers are down may save you time, but it could have dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences.”

Ear­lier this month, a bus driver who jumped level cross­ing warn­ing lights at Gaer­wen re­ceived a 26-week sus­pended jail term from JPs who warned his ac­tions were “po­ten­tially cat­a­strophic”.

Christo­pher Parslow, 34, of Sta­tion Road, Llan­rug, near Caernar­fon, must also do 80 hours un­paid work and got a 20 months driv­ing ban with an ex­tended test.

He ad­mit­ted dan­ger­ous driv­ing in a sin­gle decker bus at Gaer­wen, An­gle­sey, last March.

Pic­ture: NET­WORK RAIL

The level cross­ing at Val­ley, where Net­work Rail say too many driv­ers are tak­ing dan­ger­ous chances by driv­ing through when red lights are on or bar­ri­ers com­ing down

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