The British Transport Police (BTP) has launched a safety campaign aimed at cutting the number of road users who risk suffering serious injury, losing their lives or endangering train drivers and passengers by ignoring level crossing warning lights.

As part of the campaign, the BTP will carry out extra patrols at level crossings throughout the country, and has also recognised the role that better education could play in helping to prevent needless deaths and injuries on the train tracks.

Between 01 April 2013 and 31 March 2014, 732 motorists were charged or summonsed for crossing misuse. During the same period, 740 fixed penalty notices were issued, 102 drivers were cautioned for traffic offences and 2,125 drivers were sent on safety awareness courses.

In June this year, the BTP released an alarming compilation of footage of drivers, pedestrians and cyclists risking their lives by ignoring level crossing warning lights, in some cases encountering near misses with fast travelling trains.

Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “There is absolutely no defence or justification for those who choose to ignore warning lights and run the risk of being hit by a train for the sake of saving a few minutes’ travel time.

“The figures released by the BTP indicate there is a very real problem, where many seem ignorant or oblivious to the dangers of jumping level crossing lights, and we fully support the BTP’s attempt to educate the public about those dangers and we welcome additional patrols.

“What people who ignore lights and level crossings fail to take into account is that not only are they putting themselves and train passengers at risk but train drivers face injury or death and long term psychological damage.

"We work with trade unions, such as ASLEF, Britain’s trade union for train drivers and it is not fair on them that as part of their daily duties they run the risk that road users who flout the rules of level crossings may devastate their lives.”