Older women drivers worst level crossing offenders

A campaign to cut criminal behaviour on level crossings in London and the South East has revealed that more than 25% of offenders were women aged 50-65.

With men aged 50-65 accounting for 19% of offences, it means their age group was responsible for 46% of the misuse caught on camera.

Network Rail said it was a surprise only a minority of offences were committed by young men.

Males aged between 17 and 25 accounted for 8% of offences at level crossings.

The figures have been gathered since January, when a marked police camera van designed to deter motorists from breaking the law, started operations at level crossings in Kent, Surrey, Hampshire, East and West Sussex and Greater London.

British Transport Police officers have caught and prosecuted 1,131 people at 43 level crossings.

Offences range from jumping the lights and driving through crossings as barriers come down to hitting barriers, careless and dangerous driving and yellow box junction obstructions.

"The camera vehicle has proved what we always believed, that far too many people are misusing level crossings," said Network Rail director Dyan Crowther.

"Although the initial trend shows that older people are responsible for the highest number of offences, all ages are misusing crossings.

"Our aim is to deter them all rather than prosecute.

"We hope those caught will change their behaviour and along with other activities we're running [to] see a reduced impact on passenger services and the cost of these crimes on the running of the railway."

Jumping red lights was the offence committed by the most people (61%) followed by stopping on a box junction (27%).

Dangerous driving and careless driving accounted for 2% of offences each and 4% of prosecutions were for pedestrians who did not follow the rules.

Network Rail said that early signs were that the level crossing van was making a difference.

Since January, there has been a 31% - 45% decrease in the number of incidents recorded at three monitored crossings.

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