Thursday, March 08, 2012

Operation Lifesaver: Collisions down, fatalities up

Written by  Luther S. Miller, Senior Consulting Editor

Operation Lifesaver, Inc. noted in a report Wednesday that a preliminary report by the Federal Railroad Administration indicates that there was a reduction in highway-rail grade crossing collisions in 2011 but an increase in fatalities.

 "The FRA statistics indicate that there were 1,956 vehicle-train collisions in the U.S. in 2011 compared to 2,017 incidents in 2010; those collisions resulted in 262 deaths (up 2.3% from 2010) and 964 injuries (up 12.9% ). There were 428 trespass-related pedestrian deaths last year (down 1.4% ) and 346 trespass injuries (down 10.8%)," said Operation Lifesaver.

The national nonprofit rail safety education organization saw reason for optimism: "Sustained public education efforts, engineering improvements, and law enforcement programs have contributed to a nationwide reduction in vehicle-train collisions and pedestrian-train deaths and injuries in 2011."

Operation Lifesaver President Helen M. Sramek said states with the most crossing collisions in 2011 were Texas, Indiana, California, Louisiana, and Illinois. States with the most pedestrian-train casualties (deaths and injuries combined) in 2011 were California, Texas, Illinois, Florida, and New York.