Motorists and pedestrians are risking their lives and those of other road and rail users by routinely ignoring basic safety at railway level crossings.
That is the message from British Transport Police officers (BTP) who are carrying out extra high-visibility patrols at crossings.
‘Operation Look’ will see BTP joined by Network Rail colleagues in an awareness campaign backed by the AA and RAC.
They will be releasing a number of clips of incidents which have taken place at rail crossings as part of a week of action.
Between April 1 2014 and January 1 2015, 40o motorists were charged or summonsed for crossing misuse. A further 357 received fixed penalty notices, 16 were cautioned and 568 were sent on driver awareness courses.
In the same period British Transport Police officers dealt with drivers, whose age ranged from 17 to 90, for crossing misuse.
Inspector Becky Warren said: “All to often people get into the habit of taking risks at crossings.
“Our message is simple - use crossings safely.
“It may be tempting to jump a light to shave a minute or two off your journey, but every time you do you endanger your life and the lives of other road and rail users.
“Fail to obey the signals and you may also end up with a driving ban or a criminal record.”
Darren Furnes, head of level crossings for Network Rail, added: “Level crossings create a risk for people that we want to remove.
“Wherever possible we close them, We have already closed more than 900 in the past five years.”
A few years ago the driver of a Land Rover escaped injury after his vehicle was struck on the crossing at Winchelsea.