RAIL chiefs have launched an awareness programme in a bid to try to improve safety at level crossings across the area.
Network Rail revealed that it was targeting motorists who drive for a living in a bid to educate them on the safe use of level crossings.
Among the sites being looked at is the Egginton level crossing, in Egginton Road, near Hilton, the site of a serious accident which left a man hospitalised last year.
The ‘most important stop of the day’ programme involves Network Rail’s level crossing managers working with employers in the area whose workforce includes a significant number of drivers.
Liz Reedy, community safety manager at Network Rail, said: “The plan is to go to our most heavily used crossings with staff and volunteers who will speak with motorists and pedestrians about the importance of level crossing safety.
“The crossings we have chosen are used a lot by heavy haulage vehicles, and are close to large businesses and industrial units, so we plan to visit as many of these businesses to help get the message out.”
Level crossings in Britain are among the safest in Europe but almost a fifth of the 142 near-misses which happened at level crossings in 2013 included a vehicle driven in a professional capacity – such as a lorry, van, bus or taxi – putting the life of the driver as well as others at risk.
The incident at the Egginton level crossing saw a 49-year-old crossing keeper left in a ‘serious condition’ after he was injured by a crossing barrier following an accident involving a car.
Network Rail managing director of network operations Robin Gisby said: “There is much more we can do to make the level crossings that remain safer, and we will continue to introduce new technology, upgrade crossings to include lights or barriers where appropriate and work with schools, communities and other organisations to spread awareness of our safety message.”
Earlier this year, the Mail revealed that, contrary to rumour, the level crossing was not set to close.
Despite hundreds of crossings being closed across the country, none are set to close in Burton and South Derbyshire.