Blythe Bridge level crossing fears lead to police crackdown on motorists risking their lives
POLICE are cracking down on motorists and pedestrians who risk their lives racing across a level crossing when trains are coming.
British Transport Police are launching a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers posed by Blythe Bridge level crossing.
Figures show around five people a day try to jump the lights at the Uttoxeter Road site, which is one of the busiest in the area.
The barrier has had to be replaced several times in the past few years after being hit by vehicles.
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Officers say they will prosecute anyone who is caught crossing illegally.
They will also be carrying out high-visibility patrols and handing out leaflets.
Sergeant John Price said: "The aim of the operation is to reduce the number of incidents at level crossings by making the public more aware of the potential dangers and showing them how to use a crossing safely.
"During the coming weeks we will be out and about in Blythe Bridge, in partnership with Network Rail, to educate motorists and pedestrians in the area."
BTP said it had already taken action against people ignoring the audio warning and red flashing lights. Three motorists were fined after being charged with driving without due care and attention at the crossing last year.
Sergeant Price added: "People who misuse level crossings are not only putting themselves in harm's way – they are also risking potential injury to the staff and passengers on board the trains.
"If a train collides with a car that has tried to dodge the barriers there is a very real danger of derailment which could lead to serious injuries to those on board.
"As such we will be looking to take action against anyone who is spotted misusing the crossing."
Freight trains can pass at up to 70mph and residents say there have been several near misses.
Drivers regularly have to wait for up to 10 minutes if two trains are passing close together to leave traffic queuing.
Roger Birchall, of Stallington Road, Blythe Bridge, said: "I use both the level crossings on quite a regular basis.
"It is always a good thing to increase the safety around these types of crossings because I know that some motorists may not take notice of the warning lights."
Christine Snape, Blythe bridge Parish Council clerk, said: "We have had people going through the crossing on foot and in their cars when the lights have started flashing which is very dangerous.
"There have also been cases of high school children hanging onto the barriers as they go up which is of concern to us. I think people in Blythe Bridge are very happy that this campaign has started and are in full support of its message."