Operation Lifesaver notes drop in 2012 crossing collisions, increase in pedestrian-train casualties
WASHINGTON, DC, March 4, 2013 – While vehicle-train collisions and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings were lower across the U.S. in 2012, crossing-related fatalities were flat and rail trespass deaths and injuries rose from 2011, according to Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI, www.oli.org). The national nonprofit rail safety education organization cited preliminary 2012 Federal Railroad Administration (FRA, www.fra.dot.gov) statistics showing that rail trespass deaths and injuries were at their highest levels since 2008.
“We are gratified with the continued improvement in highway-rail grade crossing collisions, but educating a distracted public in order to reduce trespassing injuries and fatalities continues to be a challenge,” said Operation Lifesaver President and CEO Joyce Rose.
Overall, U.S. crossing collisions were down 5.1% in 2012 from 2011, to 1,953; crossing fatalities were essentially unchanged at 270; and crossing injuries fell 11.4% to 917, FRA statistics reveal. Fatalities to persons trespassing on railroad tracks and property rose 7.5% in 2012 to 442, and trespass injuries rose 10.4% from 2011 to 405.
States with the most crossing collisions in 2012 were Texas, California, Illinois, Indiana and Georgia. States with the most pedestrian-train casualties (deaths and injuries combined) in 2012 were California, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York and Florida.
“It’s a sobering fact that the number of Americans killed while trespassing on train tracks continues to outpace fatalities from vehicle-train collisions,” Rose stated. “Operation Lifesaver, in partnership with major freight railroads, commuter and light rail systems, state and local law enforcement, and transportation agencies, is expanding our efforts to encourage Americans to make safe decisions around tracks and trains,” she concluded.
Operation Lifesaver's mission is to end collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and along railroad rights of way. A national network of trained volunteers provides free presentations on rail safety. Learn more at http://www.oli.org. For more information, or to request a free safety presentation, visit www.oli.org, or follow OLI on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/operation.lifesaver, Twitter: @olinational, and Pinterest:http://pinterest.com/olinational/.