Watch shocking CCTV footage of drivers dicing with death on level crossings
PUBLISHED: 12:22 03 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:22 03 October 2018
Dramatic video captured at level crossings shows terrifying near misses in Suffolk and beyond - as a new study reveals one in ten people won't wait more than five minutes at barriers.
There have been seven near misses since April 2017, according to Network Rail – including one driver who ignored red warning lights just feet away from a train at Routs level crossing near Nacton Heath in February.
Another incident saw a train apply its emergency break just before hitting a lorry on a crossing.
And the crossing at Westerfield Road recorded the most prosecutions for people skipping red lights, with 49 logged from January to December 2017.
“It’s clear that there is a lack of knowledge around how dangerous railway crossings can be,” said Network Rail’s head of safety Richard Tew.
“By staying behind the barrier and out of the yellow box, 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.
“Nothing is worth risking your life over, just to save a few minutes of time.”
One train driver had to apply the emergency brake after a lorry was on the crossing at Melton Sewage in March.
And in May 2017 a white van started to pull out onto the Cornard automatic barrier level crossing before reversing rapidly when they spotted a train coming.
A study by Populus on behalf of Network Rail revealed in the Anglia region, over a third of drivers (37%) felt passengers were their biggest distraction while driving.
Meanwhile, more than a quarter (28%), blamed children in the car or being late as the top reasons for not waiting at a level crossing.
More than 500 offences relating to level crossings have been investigated in the Anglia region over the last year.
Prosecutions can be brought against people who enter the crossing while lights are flashing, remain in a yellow box on the crossing, overtake on double white line systems, perform dangerous manoeuvres over level crossings or fail to follow safety instructions at user worked crossings.
British Transport Police’s Inspector Stephen Webster said: “In the Anglia region we have a number of tactics to prevent offences, including camera vehicles, uniformed and plain clothes officers and vehicles.
“Rest assured, we will continue to monitor crossings and follow up with drivers after any offences reported to us. CCTV is also in operation at most crossings and we use this to detect drivers following late reports.”
The survey also showed more than a quarter of drivers reported never being taught how to use a level crossing, leaving them less likely to be aware of the dangers – and more likely to take risks.
Network Rail bosses say they are investing more than £100million in a bid to improve level crossing safety as part of their railway upgrade plan.