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Police target bad driving at crossings

PUBLISHED: 10:42 26 June 2009 | UPDATED: 10:26 06 July 2010

MOTORISTS who ignore signs, lights and road markings at a busy level crossing near Lowestoft were targeted during a day of police action.

Officers spent yesterday at the Oulton Broad North level crossing, speaking to drivers who stop in the yellow markings and who drive over the crossing when the red lights are flashing.

MOTORISTS who ignore signs, lights and road markings at a busy level crossing near Lowestoft were targeted during a day of police action.

Officers spent yesterday at the Oulton Broad North level crossing, speaking to drivers who stop in the yellow markings and who drive over the crossing when the red lights are flashing.

The high-visibility patrol was part of a European-wide initiative to raise awareness of the dangers of crossings, and officers were also present at crossings in Beccles and Brandon.

The officers in Lowestoft stopped four motorists who failed to stop when the flashing red lights showed that a train was approaching, a motorcyclist who overtook a car within the yellow marked hatchings, five drivers using mobile phones and another who was not wearing a seatbelt.

Sgt Andy Cook, of the British Transport Police, said: “This number of offenders in one day shows that the government and Network Rail do have a problem which needs working on with the help of police officers.

“A lot of these offences come out of impatience, people who want to beat the red lights because they don't want to get held up. Some of the incidents we have seen of people overtaking here are just plain dangerous.”

He said that one of the most common issues at Oulton Broad North was people queuing across the tracks because they had moved into the yellow hatchings and then had nowhere to move to.

“When people queue across the crossing, the signalman can't lower the barriers for an approaching train, so it has to be held up,” he said.

The motorists who were stopped were cautioned by the police and prosecutions may be brought against those who ignored the red lights.

Earlier this year, figures from Network Rail showed that there were nearly 500 incidents on East Anglia's rail crossings in 2008, including 20 collisions and 15 deaths, as the number of people dodging the barriers reached a five-year high.

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