Level crossing cameras credited for 86% fall in driving offences

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Kit Bradshaw


The installation of safety cameras at level crossings in Sussex is being credited with reducing driving offences.

The number of motorists sent a penalty after being caught by one of the devices has dropped by 86% since 2015, according to official data seen by ITV News Meridian.

There are now 22 fixed cameras at railway crossings in Sussex – all of them the type where the safety barriers only lower across half of the road. 

The cameras have been ‘activated’ more than 10,000 times since the first was switched on in 2015.


Network Rail says CCTV systems are working in deterring deadly risk-taking on the railway.

Michael Farley, Sussex route level crossing manager at Network Rail, says they have seen the steepest falls in misuse at crossings with “regular users who live locally” as opposed to those with lots of “visitors from out of county”.

Network Rail started installing safety cameras five year ago in Sussex. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Michael Farley, Route Level Crossing Manager


Network Rail doesn't receive any money from these cameras, so it's not a money-making process for us as a company. What we are trying to do is reduce the risk at these level crossings.

Michael Farley, Route Level Crossing Manager

Figures obtained via a Freedom of Information request show a big drop in the number of drivers caught at crossings in Sussex, down from more than 450 in 2015 to just 68 last year. That' a decrease of 86%.

While in Kent, where the cameras haven't been up and running as long, there's been an increase in penalties issued to drivers. Thats up 49% since 2019.


450

Drivers caught at crossings, Sussex 2015

68

Drivers caught at crossings, Sussex 2020


Many of the drivers caught ignoring the red lights are offered a place on an awareness course – instead of a fine – which is helping prevent repeat offenders, according to BTP.

Inspector Becky Warren, from BTP, told ITV News Meridian: “We’ve found that the reoffending rate is so low because they learn about the impact of their actions.”

Becky Warren, British Transport Police

It's hoped as more motorists become aware of these highly-visible pieces of technology, those tempted to run the risk will think twice.

Network Rail’s advice for motorists on using level crossings states:

  • Be prepared to stop at the crossing.

  • Understand the warnings (lights, barriers, alarms). 

  • If the warnings activate, stop – unless it’s unsafe to do so.

  • Remain stationary until all the warnings stop.

  • Check that our exit is clear before driving across.