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During 2007’s first seven months, U.S. railroads reported 1,472 train accidents — the fewest within a January-to-July period in more than a decade, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). Thirty-four states reported fewer derailments and collisions compared with 2006’s first seven months.
Preliminary Federal Railroad Administration safety data also shows the roads’ train accident rate — determined as the number of accidents per million train miles — remained 10 percent below the current annual record of 3.54 set in 1997, keeping the railroads on pace to establish an all-time-low rate at 3.19, the AAR said.
Railroads made other safety strides in the first seven months, as well. The number of derailments declined 14.3 percent, train-to-train collisions fell 12.1 percent, grade crossing accidents decreased 7.3 percent and crossing fatalities dropped 11.2 percent year over year.
Plus, the two leading causes of train accidents — human error and track issues — declined 12.5 percent and 11.1 percent, respectively. Incidents caused by equipment failure decreased 11.3 percent and accidents caused by signal problems dropped 36 percent.