6 Conclusion |
77. Safety at level crossings has greatly improved
in the last five years, with the statistically significant fall
in fatalities validating Network Rail's claim of a 25% reduction
in risk, relative to 2009. However, level crossings represent
one half of the non-suicide, non-trespass fatality risk on the
railway. We call on government and industry to adopt something
analogous to the "vision zero" approach on the roads,
with the aim of no level crossing fatalities by 2020.
78. The law relating to level crossings is in need
of reform. The Law Commission has proposed a fundamental overhaul
of the legislation, which we broadly support. Some detailed matters
deserve further consideration and legal reform must take account
of the viability of heritage railway.
79. The ring-fenced funding provided in the ORR's
final determination for Control Period 5 is welcome, but Network
Rail must be more transparent about how it will identify high
risk crossings, which should be priorities for improvement. Network
Rail has been able to improve safety by closing level crossings
but further improvements may be progressively more difficult to
achieve. The ORR should seek to improve its grip on overseeing
how Network Rail identifies the highest risk level crossings,
focusing on the assessment of risk and implementation of improvement
80. Network Rail has, on too many occasions, shown
a callous disregard for the feelings of the families of people
killed and seriously injured in accidents at level crossings.
Victims have been erroneously described as "trespassers"
or accused of "misuse" of the railway when, in fact,
they have tried to use level crossings appropriately.
The lack of transparency regarding safety concerns at the Elsenham
crossing was particularly shocking and raises profound questions
about Network Rail's internal culture and accountability. Network
Rail must now demonstrate that it has transformed the way in which
it deals with people whose lives have been changed by accidents
at level crossings.
143 Tina Hughes (SLC 020) para 2.5 and Q160 [Robin