Latest Rail News

15.08.12

Safety campaign calls for public to ‘lose your headphones’

Network Rail is launching a new safety campaign urging people to remove headphones at level crossings so they are not distracted from warnings about approaching trains. 

The ‘Lose your Headphones’ campaign is using digital media to spread the safety message, with celebrity endorsement from rapper Professor Green. 

This year, two people thought to have been wearing headphones have died at level crossing footpaths. In the past five years, railway staff have reported 19 incidents where joggers, cyclists or pedestrians have crossed the railway wearing headphones, despite an approaching train. 

Martin Gallagher, Network Rail’s head of level crossings said: “People wear headphones all the time nowadays; on the train, walking down the street, and even cycling or in the shops. We think though that there are times when it makes sense to stop the music and devote your full attention to where you’re going.

“Trains can travel up to 125mph on the main British rail network and even with safety warnings such as lights and signs at footpaths across the tracks, it’s easy to get distracted if you’re caught up with your favourite tune. If Professor Green is asking people to stop listening to his music just for a few minutes, we hope people will listen up, lose their headphones, and not their lives.”

Dr Bruno Fazenda, from the Acoustics Research Centre, University of Salford said: “Hearing is the only sense that can warn us of dangers we can’t see and when listening to music with headphones we become isolated and are less likely to hear sounds that might tell us of approaching dangers. It’s not just the volume of the music but also because the headphone itself blocks out ambient noise. 

“There is also plenty of evidence which shows that when you are doing two activities at the same time, such as listening to music or texting and crossing a railway track, your attention gets divided in such a way that you might not notice an approaching train even if all the warning signals are there.” 

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