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Rail News: Safety

Crossing and trespassing safety data reveals 'troubling trend,' Operation Lifesaver says


Preliminary Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) safety statistics covering 2012’s first four months show grade crossing collisions dropped 1.4 percent to 629, but fatalities and injuries from crossing and trespassing incidents rose on a year-over-year basis, according to Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI).

Crossings injuries climbed 24.4 percent to 269, crossing fatalities increased 7.5 percent to 93, trespassing injuries jumped 40.4 percent to 139 and trespassing fatalities rose 12.6 percent to 134.

“The increase in deaths and injuries from crossing collisions and pedestrian-train trespass incidents is a very troubling trend,” said OLI President Helen Sramek in a prepared statement. “Based on news accounts of incidents, texting, headphones and other distractions appear to be part of the problem.”

OLI aims to increase public awareness of the need for caution near tracks. For example, recent public service advertising campaigns caution pedestrians to eliminate distractions around tracks, said Sramek.

Since 1997, more people have been killed while trespassing on tracks than from vehicle-train collisions at crossings, according to FRA statistics.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/1/2012