Driver admits jumping train barriers

A MOTORIST made an “error of judgement” when he drove over a level crossing as the barriers were coming down just minutes before an approaching train, a court has heard.

Craig Robinson

A MOTORIST made an “error of judgement” when he drove over a level crossing as the barriers were coming down just minutes before an approaching train, a court has heard.

Andrew Coleman yesterday admitted careless driving on January 25 this year in Bridge Road, Oulton Broad, near Lowestoft.

The 47-year-old was ordered to pay more than £300 and had four penalty points added to his licence.


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He had previously denied a charge of dangerous driving but a guilty plea for careless driving was accepted at Ipswich Crown Court.

Prosecutor Robert Sadd said despite flashing red lights to indicate an approaching train Coleman, of Gorleston Road, Lowestoft, drove under the barriers of the level crossing as they were coming down, overtaking a stationary car in the process.

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However he also admitted that after looking at the evidence the defendant's driving could not be classed as “dangerous” and was instead “careless.”

In mitigation Stephen Dyble said his client lived a short distance away from the level crossing and had a good degree of local knowledge about the layout of the road.

“There was no suggestion he was driving badly,” he told the court. “The car in front said he was keeping an appropriate distance and there is nothing to indicate he was in a hurry. The defendant made an assumption that he now knows was wrong.”

Mr Dyble said his client thought the car in front was going to stop at the side of the road and so decided to overtake and carry on over the crossing.

“The barriers go down three or four minutes before the train arrives - although the red light was on there was very little danger of there being a collision,” he said. “Mr Coleman accepts he made an error of judgement but in the circumstances he did what he thought was best.”

Recorder Gerard Pounder fined Coleman £250 and ordered him to pay £55 court costs - as well as adding four points to his driver's licence.

“You took a risk,” he told the defendant. “I know you say you know that junction and you know it well but the reality is that local knowledge is what it is - sometimes things don't work out in the way you expect that they will.

“The barriers come down quite quickly as the lights start to flash and there is always a risk of the motor car stalling and then you find yourself trapped between the two barriers. Of course you don't have to think too hard about the consequences of a train colliding with a vehicle.”

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