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September 28, 2016

29% of UK young adults distracted by mobile phones when crossing railways

Almost a third of young adults questioned in the UK have admitted to using their mobile phones when encountering railway level crossings, according to new figures from Network Rail.

Almost a third of young adults questioned in the UK have admitted to using their mobile phones when encountering railway level crossings, according to new figures from Network Rail.

Another two thirds (66%) also admit to using their phone when catching or getting off a train or tube.

This report also indicates that one in three young adults claim they would be more aware of their surroundings if they did not use their phones for 24 hours. In addition, 63% of these young adults spend time checking social media while 44% use the internet.

Although the UK has the safest rail network in Europe, level crossings are one of the biggest public safety risks on the railway.

"It’s essential that people are fully aware of what’s happening around them when they use level crossings."

The last five years has seen more than 2,000 incidents on level crossings involving young people. 

Network Rail head of public and passenger safety Allan Spence said: “Many people are aware of the issue of mobile phone distraction for drivers, but it is very worrying that so many young adults admit to putting themselves at unnecessary risk by using their phone when crossing the railway.

“We are investing more than £100m to improve level crossing safety across Britain as part of the Railway Upgrade Plan, but we also need everyone who uses level crossings to do their bit too. By paying attention to the warnings at level crossings and avoiding distractions, we can all keep ourselves out of harm’s way.”

Network Rail intends to deploy more than 100 level crossing and community safety managers to raise awareness of rail safety by holding safety events and encouraging young people to stay alert when using the network.

An estimated 95% of under 25-year-olds own a smartphone and tend to spend twice the amount of time on their mobile than other age groups.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) head of road safety Kevin Clinton said: “As we advise drivers and pedestrians to avoid becoming distracted when they’re in a road environment, it’s essential that people are also fully aware of what’s happening around them when they use level crossings." 

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