Road Safety News

Sat navs to warn of level crossings

Thursday 23rd August 2012

Sat nav systems are being fitted with warnings of level crossings to cut the risk of cars colliding with trains, according to the Telegraph.

The technology, devised by Network Rail and the sat nav producer Garmin, sounds a train whistle as the motorist approaches a crossing. The device will also help motorists devise a route which can divert them away from level crossings.

According to the Rail and Safety Standards Board there have been 141 collisions involving trains and cars at level crossings over the past 10 years – and more than 1,000 near misses during the same period.

Martin Gallagher, Network Rail’s head of level crossings, said: “Motorists that jump the lights or smash into barriers as they try and beat them coming down can cause great disruption and cost to the network.

“Sat nav technology has proved to be a great help to motorists in alerting them to what’s ahead on the road, so developing an app around level crossings seemed a smart idea and we hope it will be a useful aid to motorists as the roads and the railway get even busier.”

Click here to read the full Telegraph report.


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You only have to watch CCTV to see motorists weave between stop barriers knowingly risking the lives of train drivers and train passengers. I have no concern for the lives of criminally dangerous motorists. Sat nav technology warnings of level crossings will do nothing to deter this type of motorists, but enforcement of the law would.

I advocate any device which will help save innocent lives, both rail and road users. So why not have sat nav warning and CCTV at junctions, traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, schools etc. And this would make enforcement of the law easier for the police.
Judith - Norfolk

Agree (1) | Disagree (1)

I have read newspaper reports that many drivers these days have become so dependent on their GPS they really have no idea where they are most of the time - and that an astonishingly high proportions of drivers are now unable to read a map!

Does anyone else agree that this lack of awareness of surroundings, and dependence on a 3" by 2" screen, might well have serious implications for road safety?

Air safety authorities have known for decades that the more flying is automated and the more pilots become passengers the less able they become to respond in an emergency. That seems to have been a major contributory factor in the Air France crash about 2 years ago when the pilot stalled the aircraft all the way from 30,000 feet to sea level, when it should have been entirely possible to recover from the initial problem - and the other 2 pilots failed to intervene.
Idris Francis

Agree (2) | Disagree (2)

In response to Jan - the hare-brained idea she suggests might be next, having a computer drive the car so that we can sit back and admire the view, first appeared about 5 years ago! It's called ISA (Intelligent Speed Adaptation) by which a computer controls accelerators and brakes speed using GPS and a speed limit database. And it is even worse than she implies it might be, not only because of all the unintended consequences that would cause more accidents than it could ever prevent, but because the benefit/cost ration predictions are based on the assumption that traffic volume would continue to rise almost indefinitely! Fortunately the £29bn cost is unaffordable both in economic and political terms in the on-going recession so we might yet be spared its consequences.

As yet I have not had time to write more than the introductory page, at
Idris Francis

Agree (0) | Disagree (3)

Level crossings aren't disguised or difficult to spot, people are just too impatient to sit and wait or too daft to contemplate the dangers, is there an app for that?
Dave, Leeds

Agree (13) | Disagree (0)

I'm not going to bite on this one, other than to say this is just another hair brained idea just to show that somebody cannot think of any other stupid ideas. How about this one then. Let's get a computer to drive the car for us, then we can sit back and admire the view or play with our mobile phone........

Agree (3) | Disagree (3)

If the problem is people deliberately jumping the lights/barriers, this solution is hardly likely to prevent that.

If the problem is that people don't notice the lights/barriers, then the Sat Nav solution is tackling the symptom, not the cause. Unless everyone has the new Sat Nav, and that it is on, and that it has every crossing in the database, these "collisions" (STATS19 collisions?) will not be prevented.
Dave Finney - Slough

Agree (4) | Disagree (4)