Changes in the Law for Crossing Flouts and Bridgebashers

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Forum Staff
Staff Member
7 Aug 2005
Just been reading through the Road Safety Bill that's currently in the House of Lords and came across some rather interesting changes that have been proposed to the law.

49 Development potentially affecting traffic over level crossings

The Secretary of State shall make provision by a development order under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (c. 8) to secure that, in any case where a proposed development is likely to result in a material increase in the volume, or a material change in the character, of traffic, or may require changes to the level crossing's protective arrangements, using a highway which is part of a highway network which includes a level crossing over a railway situated within 15 miles of the proposed development, the local planning authority shall be required to consult the Secretary of State, the rail safety authority and operator of the network which includes or consists of the railway in question before granting planning permission for the development.

50 Increase of penalties for failure to comply with traffic lights at level crossings

Section 1

A person guilty of an offence under section 36(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (c. 52) (drivers to comply with traffic signs) consisting of a failure to comply with a traffic sign placed at or near a level crossing indicating that vehicular traffic is not to proceed over the level crossing shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or to both and shall have his licence endorsed with six penalty points.

This means that a motorist can be prosecuted in a Magistrates Court, with a maximum of 6 months imprisonment or a fine not exceeding "level 5" - £5000.

51 Increase of penalties for careless or inconsiderate driving causing damage to a railway or other bridge over a road

Section 1

If a person causes damage to a railway or other bridge over a road by driving a motor vehicle on a road or other public place without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place, he is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or to both and shall have his licence endorsed with not less than six penalty points.

Same as above.

52 Measures to promote road safety at railway and other bridges

In section 122(2) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (c. 27) (which sets out the matters to which local authorities must have regard in exercising their functions under that Act), after paragraph (c) insert—

10 “(ca) the need to reduce the risk of heavy commercial and other vehicles colliding with railway and other bridges crossing highways by installing warning devices and physical barriers on the highways approaching such bridges;”.

At last, some common sense, we might see some more height barriers in front of low bridges which should reduce the number of delays.

It's not the law yet and even if it's passed before the year is out it probably won't become law for another good few months.
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RailUK Forums


Established Member
7 Sep 2005
I thought they had always said that barriers or warning devises ahead of bridges were too expensive. At least they have finally seen sence, I expect they will quickly pay for themselves through the reduction in disruption cause by bridge bashes, as well as the damage and the potential for injuries or loss of life (there has never been a fatality on a train from a bridge bash in the UK, but their has in other countries, including Ireland). When it comes to crossings, I think that the threat of higher fines is a bit toothless unless people think they are going to get caught, and the only ay to catch people will be to put cameras at crossings that see regular missuse. Again, when taking into account reduction in disruption cause by incidents, reduction in damage from incidents, and the potential for injury of loss of life (and if people still can't be bothered to stop, there is always the income from the fines), I'm sure that again would pay for itself. Of cource you have to remember that when it comes to increasing fines, the maximum penalty at the moment for abusing a crossing is death, and that sentence has been handed out on a number of occasions, yet doesn't discourage people, and I'd be surprised if their is really much more risk to being caught by the police than being caught by a train, so I really don't think that increased fines alone will stop people.
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