Fines and a capture on camera for drivers jumping barriers
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.