Buttskop level crossing no safer
Cape Town - Safety has not improved at a Western Cape railway crossing where 10 children were killed in a 2010 crash, the Western Cape High Court heard on Tuesday.
Judge Robert Henney said it was shocking that instances of damage to booms of the Buttskop level railway crossing in Blackheath, Cape Town, had increased in the last year.
"What are you guys doing wrong? Why hasn't it stopped? What are you people doing to curb this?" he asked provincial road safety programme director David Frost.
Frost testified that 64 instances of damage were reported for 2011 compared with 43 in 2010.
The accident involving taxi driver Jacob Humphreys that led to the death of the 10 children was the only one in which lives were lost, he said.
While taking children to school on August 25 2010, Humphreys overtook a row of cars at the Buttskop level crossing, ignored safety signals and drove over the tracks.
A train hit the taxi and 10 of the children were killed. Four others were seriously injured.
Henney said it appeared that policing at the spot was not up to standard.
"Would this have occurred if there was effective policing? You can have all these nice plans in place but 64 incidents happened."
Frost said everything possible was being done to curb road accidents.
Henney asked Frost what type of message he would like to send out through Humphreys' sentence.
"Where there is wanton disregard and recklessness for the rules of the road... severe punishment needs to be meted out," Frost replied.
Humphreys listened attentively during proceedings.
He seemed in good spirits, having greeted his family as he entered the courtroom.