Friday, March 06, 2009

Rail safety investment brings big payoff in 2008

Written by  Luther S. Miller, Senior Consulting Editor
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American railroads again made big safety investments in 2008, and again they paid off in a big way.

Full-year safety results for 2008 were posted this week on the Federal Railroad Administration's website. Total accidents and incidents declined 11.1% to 12,167. Fatalities dropped 5% to 803, andthey were due mainly to events largely beyond the railroads’ control: grade-crossing accidents andtrespassing incidents.

Train accidents were down 10.9% to 2,375; collisions declined 9.1% to 190; derailments dropped 10.2% to 1,724; and yard accidents were down 4.9% to 1,310. 

Well-funded and expanded safety programs at highway-rail crossings and along the right-of-way were reflected in a decline of 14.6% incrossing fatalities, to 286; and a drop of 2.6% in trespassing deaths, to 458.

There were 25 employee fatalities, compared to 17 in 2007.