Sunday 20 April 2014

Red alert for drivers who break lights as Luas collisions soar

THESE are the dramatic moments which show just how close motorists came to colliding with a Luas tram and causing themselves and others a serious injury.

The operator of Dublin's tram system has urged drivers to stop breaking traffic lights after a sharp rise in the number of collisions across the network.

In 2012, there were 22 incidents while this has risen to 36 so far this year, Transdev said.

And the Irish Independent can reveal that gardai will mount a crackdown next year amid serious concerns that motorists are failing to heed safety messages.

More than half of the road traffic collisions involve vehicles illegally passing red lights, Transdev said, with most occurring on the Red Line at Blackhall Place, Queen Street and on the Belgard Road in south Dublin.

A camera installed at Blackhall Place in December 2010 showed an average of 5.5 incidents a day, with 52pc of crossings happening five seconds or more after the red light was displayed.

"An Garda Siochana have undertaken targeted patrols of Blackhall Place, Queen Street and Belgard Road in an effort to reduce this very dangerous driver behaviour," Transdev said.

Near misses at the Belgard Road as cars break red lights


"The Railway Procurement Agency (which is responsible for the Luas) has initiated the final phase of the Red Light Camera Project in conjunction with gardai and Dublin City Council which will result in the issue of penalty notices to vehicle drivers in 2014."

The effect of a collision can result in major disruption to services, as the line is closed pending a Garda investigation and the damaged tram has to be towed to the depot for repair.

Some 30 million passenger journeys are make on the Luas every year, and most incidents occur on the Red line from Tallaght to The Point with trams passing through 48 junctions.

"Motorists need to stop amber gambling and taking chances. The Luas is on a fixed track, it cannot swerve.

"It needs time to brake and motorists who persist in gambling are putting their own lives and the lives of Luas customers at risk," Transdev managing director Brian Brennan said.

So far this year, there have been 22 collisions at red light junctions on the Red line, eight on shared roads and two involving vehicles exiting side streets.

On the Green line, there have been three collisions on shared road space and one with a vehicle emerging from a side street.

Irish Independent

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