One in seven drivers admit to jumping level crossings

A third weren't taught level crossing conduct in driving lessons

NETWORK Rail has launched a national safety campaign after new research showed a startling number of road users ignore level crossing warnings.

According to the survey of UK motorists, 14% of those polled admitted they would ignore the barriers and warning lights at a level crossing, and drive over the intersection before it was safe to do so.

The problem is so prevalent, it was even captured on camera during a live TV report.

More than one in ten (11%) of polled motorists also revealed they would attempt to cross if they knew beforehand no passenger trains were scheduled to come by. This is particularly dangerous according to Network Rail, as freight trains that aren’t listed on railway timetables also pass through level crossings.

A lack of education could be the reason behind these startling findings. Of the surveyed motorists, a third said they hadn’t been taught what to do at level crossings when they were learning to drive.

Network Rail data shows on average 46 incidents involving cars at level crossings take place every week in the UK, which equates to roughly 2,400 occurrences every year. Six people have been killed in vehicles at level crossings over the last five years.

Network Rail’s head of public and passenger safety Allan Spence said; “It’s clear that there is a lack of knowledge around how dangerous railway crossings 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.”

He added: “We are investing more than £100m to improve level crossings across Britain, 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.”