Along with a sharp drop in railroad traffic came a corresponding decline in accidents and incidents in this year's first two months.
Preliminary statistics posted Friday by the Federal Railroad Administration's Office of Safety Analysis show a 22.1% decline in total accidents and incidents in January-February 2009 compared with the corresponding period in 2008. Fatalities of all types declined 8.0% to 92.
Train accidents were down 27.8% to 307, with collisions down 34.1% to 270 and derailments down 30.5%% to 216. Yard accidents declined 34.1% to 155.
Track causes were cited in 87 train accidents, down 40.8% from the 2008 period; equipment causes in 51, down 13.6%; and human factors in 109, down 28.3%.
Fatalities at highway/rail crossingswere down 18.6% to 31, and trespasser fatalities declined 1.8% to 54.
There were seven employee fatalities in January-February 2009, four more than in the 2008 period. Employee injuries declined 21.1% to 643.