Two level crossings in the top ten ‘near miss’ sites

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A DAY of action to try to curb the trend for people to ‘jump’ level crossings was held in Chichester last week. The move followed growing concern by Police and Network Rail and they worked with and Fire and Rescue and other agencies in Chichester to educate drivers and pedestrians about the dangers of level crossings during a day long operation.

The day of action at four local level crossings saw officers in uniform and plain clothes stopping drivers and pedestrians who were trying to ‘jump’ the crossing controls at each site. Most pedestrians and drivers who commit offences such as failing to comply with the warning lights, and other offences including excess speed, using a mobile phone, or not wearing a seat belt, are being offered, as an alternative to fixed penalty notices or prosecution, on-site advice from West Sussex Fire and Rescue ‘Hard Hit’ presentations.

These presentations focus on bringing home to people the consequences of road crashes and failure to stay clear of trains.

But police may still issue Fixed penalty tickets or report for summons any offences considered particularly blatant or hazardous.

The crossings causing concerns are at Southbourne, Fishbourne, and Stockbridge Road and Basin Road in Chichester.

Sgt Spencer Robertson of Sussex Police said; “We want to save lives and to avoid penalising drivers if possible. These crossings are often reported to us as the sites of ‘near misses’ and the two in Chichester City are listed by Network Rail as in the top ten ‘near miss’ sites in the whole country. All agencies are working together to educate drivers and pedestrians. There have been no serious injuries or deaths at these crossing so far but we are really concerned that with current attitudes it is only a matter of time before a tragedy occurs.

“The advice is simple; when the warning signals start to go, just stop. Just be patient. This has been a continuing concern to us and it is an issue we will re-visit in the future”.

Inspector Mick Morriss of British Transport Police, said: “We are working closely with Sussex Police, Network Rail and our other partners to educate drivers about the correct use of level crossings and the dangers that can be posed by misusing them.