Fines and a cap­ture on cam­era for driv­ers jump­ing bar­ri­ers

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE -

New red light en­force­ment cam­eras are be­ing in­stalled at high risk level cross­ings across the county fol­low­ing alarm­ing ev­i­dence of driv­ers dic­ing with death.

The new tech­nol­ogy is be­ing put in place at sites in Pad­dock Wood and Bel­tring.

Net­work Rail says it’s needed to re­duce the dan­ger­ous abuse of cross­ing sig­nals and the num­ber of near misses. Across Kent 20 cross­ings will get the cam­eras.

Work­ing much like a speed cam­era, red light safety en­force­ment (RLSE) cam­eras can record and iden­tify ve­hi­cles jump­ing lights at level cross­ings and cap­ture ev­i­dence.

Mo­torists are then au­to­mat­i­cally no­ti­fied of their of­fence and given the op­tion to pay a £60 fine and re­ceive points on their li­cence, or sit a level cross­ing safety aware­ness course.

As an ex­tra de­ter­rent, signs will be in­stalled to warn mo­torists they could be caught on cam­era.

The cam­eras have al­ready been in­stalled at four lo­ca­tions in the south east. Early find­ings show more than an 80% av­er­age re­duc­tion in the num­ber of mo­torists ig­nor­ing warn­ing lights and swerv­ing around the bar­ri­ers.

They are com­ing to sites at Bel­tring sta­tion, plus cross­ing points in Lucks Lane and Wagon Lane in Pad­dock Wood.

Si­mon Morgan, Net­work Rail south east’s safety direc­tor, said: “Know­ing that jump­ing the lights or swerv­ing the bar­ri­ers at a level cross­ing will al­most cer­tainly re­sult in a pros­e­cu­tion is enough to make most driv­ers think twice.

“This isn’t about money, as Net­work Rail isn’t in­volved in the is­su­ing of fines or the en­force­ment process. For us, the per­fect sce­nario is to have ev­ery­one cross the rail­way safely with no penal­ties is­sued.”

The an­nounce­ment co­in­cides with the na­tion­wide launch of a Net­work Rail level cross­ing safety cam­paign tar­get­ing mo­torists who de­lib­er­ately flout the rules, putting them­selves and oth­ers in dan­ger. Sta­ple­hurst’s £1.1mil­lion new and im­proved sta­tion car park has been com­pleted on time and within bud­get.

Work to ex­pand the car park in­cluded adding more than 250 new spa­ces and im­prov­ing CCTV and light­ing. It be­gan in April.

The im­prove­ments are in re­sponse to grow­ing de­mand from com­muters and an in­crease in the num­ber of pas­sen­gers trav­el­ling through the sta­tion.

Maidstone and the Weald MP He­len Grant (Con) vis­ited the sta­tion to cel­e­brate the up­grade and said she hoped the move would be part of a wider drive boost ca­pac­ity at ru­ral sta­tions.

She added: “I am pleased this has now been com­pleted.

South­east­ern said it has made more park­ing spa­ces avail­able and there is bet­ter ac­cess for traf­fic and pedes­tri­ans.

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