“Federal Railroad Administration statistics show that grade crossing crashes are 1.4 % lower in the first four months of this year; however, the increase in deaths and injuries from crossing collisions and pedestrian-train trespass incidents is a very troubling trend,” said Operation Lifesaver Inc. President Helen M. Sramek.
A preliminary count by the FRA's Office of Safety Analysis shows that in the January-April 2012 period, grade crossing fatalities increased 7.8% to 73 compared to the same period in 2011. Trespasser fatalities increased 12.6% to 134.
“Based on news accounts of incidents, texting, headphones, and other distractions appear to be part of the problem,” said Sramek. “Increasing public awareness of the need for caution near train tracks is important. Our recent public service advertising campaigns caution pedestrians to eliminate distractions around train tracks: stay focused, stay alive.”
Operation Lifesaver is a non-profit safety education group with programs in all 50 states. It has trained presenters who provide talks to raise the public’s safety awareness around tracks and trains.