Figures released by Network Rail have revealed that in the UK, 46 incidents take place on level crossings each week.
In the last 5 years alone, 6 people have lost their lives in vehicles at level crossings, with many more being injured.
Lorries make up also a third of (32%) of all level crossing incidents, with cars not far behind, accounting for 28% of collisions.
A survey accompanying the figures found that while distractions can result in drivers overlooking warning lights, a concerning 26% of motorists have never been taught how to use level crossings.
Box junction rules state that vehicles should never enter the yellow hatched area over the tracks unless they have a clear exit, however many motorists ignore this rule, leaving them ‘trapped’ when trains approach, risking a collisions with oncoming trains.
The study found that 11% of drivers would drive onto a crossing if they had checked the timetable and believed there was no train coming. This is particularly dangerous behaviour as freight trains and other services aren’t listed on public timetables and will pass through level crossings at speeds of up to 100mph.
Network Rail has launched a national campaign to change driver behaviours to reduce the number incidents with drivers at level crossings. To increase awareness of the dangers of level crossings, Network Rail has partnered with British Transport Police in a bid to remind drivers of the dangers of failing to follow safety instructions at a level crossing.
Allan Spence, Head of Public and Passenger Safety at Network Rail, said that there was a lack of knowledge around how dangerous level crossing can be. “We are seeing drivers take risks at level crossings every day – putting themselves and others in danger. Nothing is worth risking your life over, just to save a few minutes of time.
‘We are investing more than £100m to improve level crossing safety across Britain as part of the Railway Upgrade Plan, but we also need drivers to obey the law at level crossings. By staying behind the barrier until it is safe to cross and paying attention to the warnings at level crossings, we can all keep ourselves and those in our vehicles out of harm’s way.’
Source: ADI News
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