DRIVERS ‘RISKING LIVES’
Warning as number of drivers taking chances at railway level crossings is on the rise
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.
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