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Rail News: Safety

Last year's figures show U.S. rail fatalities on the rise, NTSB says


Despite U.S. railroads' campaigns and initiatives aimed at increasing safety awareness, total 2002 rail fatalities increased to 603 compared with 597 in 2001, according to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) statistics released Oct. 2.

NTSB officials believe the 2002 figure reflects a rise in pedestrian fatalities associated with intercity rail operations. Meanwhile, fatalities occurring on light-, heavy- and commuter-rail systems increased to 220 last year compared with 197 in 2001; seven passengers were killed in 2002 compared with three in 2001.

Total U.S. transportation fatalities in the United States increased slightly last year to 45,098 compared with 44,969 in 2001, NTSB said.

Highway fatalities — which accounted for more than 94 percent of all 2002 transportation deaths — increased from 42,196 in 2001 to 42,815. Fatalities from all aviation accidents dropped from 1,171 in 2001 to 618 in 2002. However, general aviation fatalities increased slightly from 562 in 2001 to 576 in 2002.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/3/2003