August 31, 2010

Accidents at level crossings are still cause for concern for train industry

Last year there were as many as 3,244 recorded incidents of misuse or error at level crossings, following 3,495 incidents in 2008.

In 2009, there were 14 collisions between vehicles and trains at level crossings and there were 13 deaths.

here were also 145 near-misses between motor vehicles and trains last year – almost three a week.

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 reduce risky driving behaviour, such as driving around barriers and running red lights as trains approach.

NR calculates that up to 95 per cent 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.

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