Level crossing near-miss

10 March 2010, 09:43 | Updated: 10 March 2010, 10:34

Video's been released of a van driver narrowly avoiding being hit by a train on a level crossing near Henley.

Network Rail have given Heart the footage from Shiplake, to demonstrate the dangers of using crossings when the lights are flashing or barriers are down.

There were 14 crashes involving vehicles and trains in the UK in 2009, in which 13 people died.  There were also 140 near misses between motor vehicles and trains - nearly three a week.  Network Rail received 3,200 reports of people misusing level crossings.

A driver was killed in Berkshire just last weekend when his car was hit by a train at a level crossing in Wokingham.  All 125 passengers and the train driver escaped unhurt.

Network Rail are now calling for questions on level crossings to be compulsory part of the driving theory test.

Chief executive Iain 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. Our campaign is raising awareness of the very real dangers of running the risk but we think more can be done to change motorists’ behaviour."

Andrew Howard, the AA's Head of Road Safety, said: "Level crossings are one of the few places where one motorist’s irresponsibility can affect the safety of many, many people. Motorists must be aware of the rules, which are simple, logical and well signed. The risk in trying to save two minutes jumping a level crossing just isn't worth it."

Watch more level crossing near-misses