Horsham rail crossing to have new technology to help keep children away from danger

Various crossing in the South-East will have the new technology
Various crossing in the South-East will have the new technology

New technology is being introduced at a crossing in Horsham as near misses involving children at South-East level crossings are expected to rise over the summer holidays.

Warnham foot crossing, in North Horsham, is one of ten crossings across the region to have geo-targeting.

New figures from Network Rail reveal that young people are more likely to have a near miss at a level crossing during the summer, when lighter nights and the summer holidays mean they will be outdoors for longer.

Many of them will simply be distracted when crossing the railway, either by their friends, their phones or their cameras.

To help combat the issue of distraction at level crossings, Network Rail and British Transport Police are introducing geo-targeting at a number of level crossings where phone distraction has been flagged as high risk.

Apart from Horsham, the only other Sussex area to have geo-targeting will be Stockbridge and Basin Road level crossings, in Chichester.

New data has revealed that over two-thirds (70 per cent) of near misses are due to distraction, with the top three distractions at level crossings highlighted as friends (40 per cent), headphones (20 per cent) and mobile phones (12 per cent).

Almost a third (29%) of young adults admit to using their mobile phone while crossing the railway.

A huge 95 per cent of under 25 year olds report owning a smart phone and spend twice the amount of time on their mobile than the average user.

While Britain still has the safest rail network in Europe, level crossings are one of the biggest public safety risks on the railway. In the last five years there have been more than 2,000 incidents on level crossings.

Inspector Becky Warren from British Transport Police (BTP) said: “Level crossings are there to help people cross the railway when it is safe to do so but pedestrians need to pay full attention when they use them.

“Sadly, our officers know the tragedy families are faced with after a loved one is killed at a level crossing. A moment of distraction, be that checking a text or changing a song, can leave devastation and heartbreak for families.

“We regularly conduct operations at level crossings and run events across the country in conjunction with our partners in Network Rail to raise awareness on how to use crossings safely.”

Network Rail’s army of over 100 level crossing and community safety managers will also be raising awareness of rail safety right across the rail network by holding safety events and encouraging young people to stay alert when on the rail network.

The video shows people who were identified by CCTV, which was set up after reports of near misses at Simpsons crossing, near Sittingbourne.