Dendermonde railway. — © Het Nieuwsblad
A driver who crossed a railway crossing in Dendermondse Diepestraat just after midnight on Wednesday when the light had long been red and the barriers were already lowered, was caught red-handed by the local police. “Images that we still see far too often,” says Frédéric Petit of railway manager Infrabel.
The fact that the driver committed a serious offense in Diepestraat can be seen in a video that the local Dendermonde police shared on social media. “The car drives over the tracks after the light has been red for sixteen seconds,” says Patrick Feys, chief of police of Dendermonde.
“That’s not very smart, because there is an extensive camera system there. So a report has been drawn up for the serious violation and we posted the video online with the intention of raising awareness. Posting a text is easy, but these images have much more impact.” (Read more below the photo)
The police received permission from the East Flanders public prosecutor’s office to post the video online. It also shows that just when the car reaches the other side, a police patrol arrives at the scene, turns around and chases the car. The police team was able to pull the driver over. He will have to answer to the police court later and risks a fine of up to 4,000 euros.
Crossing a railway crossing when the light is already red, even when the barriers are already closed, still happens too much, according to Infrabel. “While it is very simple,” says Frédéric Petit. “When it is red, you stop. But people have no patience and so the images from Dendermonde are images that we still see far too often. We are therefore seriously indignant and strongly appeal to follow the traffic rules.”
“In November, there were three more fatal accidents at level crossings in East Flanders in quick succession: in Zele, Lokeren and Nieuwkerken-Waas. It is frustrating to find that people are stubborn.”
Infrabel states that no fewer than eleven people died in 2023 due to an accident at a railway crossing and that it also regularly carries out inspection actions itself.
The images are no surprise for the neighborhood in Diepestraat and Potiaulaan. “It regularly happens that cars but also cyclists drive through red lights,” says a local resident. “There are cameras, although not everyone realizes it. Recklessness does create life-threatening situations.”