Parents are being strongly urged to properly warn their children of the dangers of railways crossings, as the British Transport Police release shocking footage of kids playing on the tracks.
It may seem like common sense, but incidents involving young people amount to over 2,000 in the last five years.
In the footage, which was filmed over the course of 9 days at the Cotton Mill level crossing between St Albans Abbey and Watford Junction, we can see a number of children playing on the tracks, running needlessly back and forth across them and looking at their phones whilst crossing.
The British Transport Police reported there were four near misses and and over 300 occurences of ‘deliberate misuse’.
‘The children in the CCTV are the lucky ones as they were able to leave the crossing unscathed,’ said Inspector Becky Warren of the BTP. ‘Sadly there are people who have not been as fortunate, and I have had the heartbreaking job of telling families that their loved one has been killed at crossings or on the tracks.’
‘Despite our constant warnings about using crossings safely and the dangers of the railway, incredibly some people are still willing to put their lives on the line by ignoring crossing instructions, not looking properly or by trying to dash across crossings when trains are approaching.’
The department are now putting the emphasis on parents to really hammer home the dangers of misusing the crossing. Level crossing user guides are available to all parents online, and they’re being urged to go through these thoroughly with their children.
Practical advice is to remove headphones and put phones away whilst crossing, and pay full attention to the track at all time. As with crossing any road, they must look both ways (and both ways again) and never run out ahead of an oncoming train rather than wait for it to pass.
Warning lights and sirens can be found at all level crossings, and it’s vital to observe the signals.