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 Tuesday, 14 January, 2003, 08:55 GMT
Safety plea at level crossing
Car running a red light at Kirknewton level crossing
Some 190 cars were caught running red lights
Motorists are being warned that unless they change their driving habits at Scotland's most notorious level crossing there will be a serious accident.

The crossing, at Kirknewton in West Lothian, saw 190 incidents of motorists ignoring the red lights and barriers last year.

Each day, more than 150 high speed freight and passenger services pass through the crossing on the Edinburgh to Glasgow via Shotts line and the Edinburgh to Carlisle line.

The total of 190 red light incidents is up by 35% on 2001 and has risen despite the use of a red light camera to catch motorists.

Level crossing
There are fears there could be an accident

Recent research found that more than half of these offences were committed by males and that most occurred in August and September.

Janette Anderson, Director of Network Rail in Scotland said: "Our figures for the last 12 months highlight the problem we have at Kirknewton, and the fact that the offences are still rising despite previous warnings to motorists.

"Drivers need to understand their actions are increasing the risk of a severe incident occurring in Kirknewton, and act responsibly at all times when using the crossing.

"It is imperative that tougher penalties are imposed in order to effectively deter offenders."

'Reckless'

Ms Anderson added: "Often the minimum fines are given which doesn't reflect the serious nature of these criminal acts."

Labour MSP Bristow Muldoon was due to visit the crossing on Tuesday with police and Network Rail officials to see what can be done to prevent an accident.

Mr Muldoon, whose constituency covers the crossing, is also the convener of the Scottish Parliament's Transport and Environment Committee.

Car running a red light at Kirknewton level crossing
Every driver is prosecuted for running red lights

He has condemned the irresponsibility and said he is alarmed by the continued increase in offences.

Mr Muldoon said: "In October I called for a clampdown on reckless motorists who were misusing the crossing, and am alarmed that the number of offences continues to rise.

"I am again strongly appealing to local drivers who use the crossing to seriously consider the consequences of their actions before running the lights, and help to reduce these worryingly high figures before a serious accident occurs."

Kirknewton crossing is one of eight in Scotland with a red light camera - unlike other road cameras used in the UK, the units at crossings are always operational and all activations are reported to the procurator fiscal.

See also:

17 Aug 02 | Scotland
02 May 02 | Scotland
03 Dec 01 | Scotland
12 Nov 01 | Scotland
06 Sep 01 | Scotland
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