Police are set to use a purpose-built van fitted with nine cameras to deter m0torists from dangerously misusing level crossings.
Following a successful trial period in south-east England, the vehicle is due to be introduced in Scotland.
The van will be equipped with automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras and linked to a computer systems, providing instant vehicle and driver information and rapid prosecutions.
Central Station in Glasgow was the location at which the van was launched by Network Rail and the British Transport Police (BTP).
There have been over 1,100 offences made at Scottish level crossings over the last three years, with 40 trespassing offences.
“Drivers and pedestrians who deliberately ignore traffic signals not only put their own and other people’s lives at risk, but they also commit a criminal offence and are doing so in increasing numbers,“ revealed Kenny MacAskill, Justice Secretary.
“This government therefore welcomes the significant increase that this new vehicle will bring to British Transport Police’s detection capabilities and the contribution this new vehicle will bring in creating a safer Scotland.”
Ch Supt Ellie Bird, BTP’s area commander for Scotland, believes that the vans will vastly improve safety for the public.
“Our concern, with Network Rail, is that there are a number of people who are failing to conform to the legal requirements when using the crossings,” she explained.
“This is not only potentially dangerous to the individuals in the vehicle, but can have absolutely catastrophic consequences for the driver of the train and all of those passengers that are on that train.”
Network Rail have helped to fund three vans so far, with each costing £60,000.
“Driver misuse of level crossings is one of the biggest external risks to rail safety,” explained David Simpson, route managing director for Scotland.
“We regularly see drivers ignoring warning lights at crossings or attempting to beat barriers as they come down – resulting in damage to our infrastructure and delays to train services.”