In a bid to stop drivers putting lives at risk, state-of-the-art red light safety cameras are being installed by Network Rail at Yapton level crossing.
One recent incident, which saw a motorist drive onto the track, caused 21 train cancellations and severe service disruption which cost the rail industry £160,000, according to Network Rail.
The new cameras will be equipped with number plate recognition technology, meaning motorists misusing the crossing can now be automatically identified and prosecuted by British Transport Police.
John Halsall, Network Rail route managing director, said: “The level of driver misuse at Yapton level crossing has got to stop before there’s a serious accident. Enforcement cameras will give us the ability to identify and take action against drivers who put lives at risk.”
Located on the busy Sussex West Coastway rail line between Barnham and Ford stations, Yapton level crossing is reported to be ‘one of the most misused crossings in the south east’, according to Network Rail.
It stated: “Incidents of drivers jumping red lights, vehicles striking and weaving around barriers and queuing over the crossing as the barriers come down occurring almost daily.”
Inspector Becky Warren from British Transport Police said: “Every time you ignore a signal, audible warning or an amber or red light you risk your life and the lives of other rail and road users. It is not worth risking your life or a criminal record just to save a few minutes on your journey.”
West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for Highways and Transport, Bob Lanzer, said: “We have been working with Network Rail for many years looking at safety improvements at level crossings within our county.
“Recent results from safety cameras already installed at level crossings in our county and nationally show an important reduction in the instances of misuse by drivers.
“Level crossings are safe if used correctly, but we are delighted to support measures to encourage safer behaviour by all road users.”
In a statement, Network Rail said: “These types of cameras were first introduced on Britain’s rail network in 2015, and have since proven to be extremely successful with driver non-compliance down by as much as 90 per cent at some crossings.”
It added: “Yapton is a half barrier level crossing which is triggered automatically by approaching trains. In addition to the barriers which descend, there are flashing warning lights and an audible ‘yodel’ alarm to alert road users and pedestrians that a train is approaching. On average, 300 trains pass over the crossing each day. The full line speed of 75mph has been reduced to 35mph to reduce the likelihood a collision between a train and vehicle.”
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