We've stepped up our safety campaigns by highlighting dangerous mobile phone use near the railway.
A huge 95 per cent of under-25 year olds report owning a smart phone and spend twice the amount of time on their mobile than the average user. We know that almost a third (29 per cent) of young adults admit to using their mobile phone while crossing the railway. A further two thirds (66 per cent) also say they use their phone when catching or getting off a train or tube train.
Populus research on phone distraction also highlights that one in three young adults admit they'd be more aware of their surroundings if they ditched their phone for 24 hours. Most spend time checking social media (63 per cent) and surfing the web (44 per cent).
We recognise that many young people are distracted when crossing the railway – by their friends, their phones or their cameras. So, together with British Transport Police, we've introduced geo-targeting at a number of level crossings that are flagged as high risk for phone distraction. The system alerts young people using their phones near level crossings to put them away.
While Britain still has the safest rail network in Europe, level crossings are one of the biggest public safety risks on the railway. In the last five years there have been more than 2,000 incidents on level crossings involving young people.
To stay safe at a level crossing do not take a phone call, text, use an app or listen to music through headphones. You need to be well aware of what the warning lights, barriers and signs are telling you. Take special care at level crossings on footpaths, bridleways and other rights of way where there are no barriers or railway staff.
Darren Lincoln, Network Rail’s level crossing manager based at Ely describes an incident in this short video where a person wearing earphones stepped in front of a train at a crossing.
We’re investing over £100m to make level crossings safer
As part of the Railway Upgrade Plan, we’re making level crossings safer but we also need everyone who uses level crossings to pay attention and avoid distractions. Our community safety managers work hard to raise awareness of rail safety by encouraging young people to stay alert when on the rail network.