Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI) Executive Director Rachel Maleh recently revealed that railroad grade crossing collisions and rail trespass deaths increased in 2018.
Citing preliminary Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) statistics, Maleh said U.S. crossing collisions rose 4.3%, crossing deaths remained constant and crossing injuries decreased 2.9% from 2017 to 2018. Total casualties—deaths and injuries—from rail trespassing were up 2.8%, trespass deaths grew 12% and trespass injuries fell 6.3% in 2018.
|Crossing Statistics, U.S. Totals Trespass Statistics, U.S. Totals|
|% Change||+4.3||0.0||-2.9||% Change||+2.8||+12.0||-6.3|
States with the most crossing collisions in 2018, according to the rail safety education nonprofit, were Texas, California, Indiana, Georgia, Illinois, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Ohio and Pennsylvania. States with the most trespasser casualties last year were California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina and New Jersey.
“We are troubled to see that these tragic railroad crossing incidents and pedestrian trespass casualties continue to rise,” said Maleh. “Some indicators were better in 2018, however. Crossing deaths were flat from the previous year, while crossing and trespass injuries both dropped. Rail Safety Week, Sept. 22-28 in the U.S. and Canada, will focus attention on these key public safety issues. These statistics show that our efforts to save lives, working with the FRA and safety partners at freight, passenger and commuter railroads, are more important than ever.”
“It is vitally important that we continue to strengthen efforts among all public, private and government stakeholders to prevent and reduce grade crossing collisions and trespass incidents,” said FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory. “There is still much work to do, but through our longstanding partnership with Operation Lifesaver, Inc., more Americans understand how to safely traverse grade crossings and refrain from risky behavior along rail lines.”