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Rail News: Safety

FRA safety stats: U.S. roads succeeding with accident/incident counts, failing with train accident figures

Last week, the Federal Railroad Administration released its preliminary January-to-November 2003 safety statistics, which show U.S. railroads continued to follow a trend revealed in the administration's January-to-October stats: fewer highway-rail incidents, total accidents/incidents, and employee and trespasser fatalities and injuries, but more train accidents compared with similar 2002 data.

During the 11 months, highway-rail incidents totaled 2,611, decreasing 7.8 percent compared with 2,833 during the same 2002 period. Employee fatalities dropped 15 percent from 20 to 17; non-fatal employee injuries, 12 percent, from 6,168 to 5,430; trespasser fatalities, 6.6 percent, from 501 to 446; and non-fatal trespasser injuries, 2.7 percent, from 375 to 365.

U.S. roads also decreased total accidents/incidents 6.5 percent, from 13,260 to 12,393; total fatalities, 10.3 percent, from 881 to 790; and total non-fatal injuries, 24 percent, from 10,407 to 7,908 compared with 2002 data.

However, train accidents totaled 2,596, increasing 4.4 percent compared with 2,486 accidents during the same 2002 period. Miscellaneous and signal causes, human factors and collisions led to more accidents, increasing 18.7 percent, 10.9 percent, 10.7 percent and 8.8 percent, respectively.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/15/2004