Concern over crossing accidents

Accident at levels crossings are still a major concern to the rail industry and watchdogs.

Some 3,244 incidents of misuse or error at level crossings were recorded last year, down from 3,495 incidents in 2008.

Figures reveal that there were 14 incidents involving a collision between a vehicle and train at level crossings last year and 13 people were killed.

They also reveals that there were nearly three near-misses a week - some 145 were recorded.

Earlier this year Network Rail (NR) chief executive Iain Coucher called on the Government to do more to curb unsafe driving by motorists at level crossings.

NR wants the driving theory test to include compulsory questions on level crossings to enforce learner drivers' understanding of the Highway Code and stamp out crazy driving behaviour, such as dodging around barriers and running red lights as trains approach.

NR reckons that around 95% of incidents at level crossings are down to motorist or pedestrian misuse or error.

Mr Coucher said: "Motorists are too often playing Russian roulette with a 200-tonne train - and tragically some lose their lives gambling at level crossings by running red lights or dodging around barriers.

"I'm confident that lives will be saved if motorists learn how to safely use level crossings from the day they pass their test."

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