Page last updated at 12:00 GMT, Monday, 18 January 2010

Level crossing triple death crash site targeted

Police at Halkirk in September 2009
Police at Halkirk following September's fatal accident

A railway level crossing where three people died is among sites being targeted by British Transport Police (BTP) in an effort to improve safety.

Angus MacKay and his wife Margaret, both 81, and Mr MacKay's brother Donald, 66, were killed in September's accident at Halkirk in Caithness.

Their car was in a collision with a passenger train.

Police officers were using unmarked cars fitted with cameras to record motorists' driving at crossings.

Officers in marked cars were also patrolling crossings across Scotland during Operation Galley.

Last year's fatal accident at Halkirk is being investigated by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch.

The statistics for accidents at level crossings make chilling reading
Insp Bob Cameron
British Transport Police

It prompted an SNP MSP to seek views from the public on how safe they feel when using gate-free railway level crossings.

Dave Thompson said the results of his survey will be passed to Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson.

Last year, BTP officers in Scotland dealt with 185 offences where motorists apparently failed to obey a road traffic sign.

In 104 of those cases, the drivers were made the subject of a report to the area procurator fiscal.

Insp Bob Cameron, the officer in charge of the north sector of BTP, said motorists would be stopped at crossings and given advice on using them.

He said: "Using cameras for the first time will allow us to show any driver who does misuse a crossing and make them aware of their actions, as well as being able to use the footage as evidence."

The officer added: "The statistics for accidents at level crossings make chilling reading and drivers must realise that there will only be one loser if crossings are not used in the way they were designed."

Members of Network Rail's community safety team were also involved in the operation.

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