But while there were four employee fatalities in this year's January-May period, total rail-related deaths came to nearly 300. Highway-railroad grade crossing accidents caused 103 fatalities, one more than in the 2011 period, while trespassing fatalities climbed 15.6% to 178 from last year's 154.
The FRA's latest count came almost simultaneously with a statement from Operation Lifesaver Inc., based on four-month figures, lamenting the "troubling trend" in rail-related deaths. The new counts were slightly higher than those noted by Operation Lifesaver. The safety organization blamed the rising number of fatalities partly on such relatively new distractions as texting and headphones.