Grade crossing collisions and fatalities related to rail trespassing in the United States increased in 2018, Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI) announced yesterday.
Citing recent but preliminary Federal Railroad Administration statistics, OLI officials said crossing collisions in 2018 rose to 2,214 to from 2,122 collisions in 2017 — a more than 4 percent increase. Total casualties — injuries and fatalities — related to rail trespassing climbed 2.8 percent last year, according to an OLI press release.
While collisions at rail crossings went up in 2018, reported deaths remained nearly unchanged and injuries decreased by almost 3 percent, from 844 to 819 year over year.
But trespassing-related deaths soared 12 percent last year to 571. Meanwhile, trespassing-related injuries declined 6.3 percent to 479.
“We are troubled to see that these tragic railroad crossing incidents and pedestrian trespass casualties continue to rise,” said OLI Executive Director Rachel Maleh.
States with the most trespasser casualties (deaths and injuries combined) in 2018 were California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina and New Jersey. States with the most crossing collisions in 2018 were Texas, California, Indiana, Georgia, Illinois, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
“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 Batory. “There is still much work to do, but through our longstanding partnership with Operation Lifesaver, more Americans understand how to safely traverse grade crossings and refrain from risky behavior along rail lines.”