Operation Lifesaver notes increase in 2014 crossing and trespass fatalities

WASHINGTON, DC, March 11, 2015 – Vehicle-train collisions and deaths at highway-rail grade crossings and from pedestrians trespassing on railroad tracks rose across the U.S. in 2014, while crossing-related injuries and rail trespass injuries were lower compared to 2013, Joyce Rose, the President and CEO of Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI) said today.

The national nonprofit rail safety education organization cited preliminary 2014 Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) statistics showing that U.S. crossing collisions rose 8.8 percent in 2014, to 2,280 from 2,096 in 2013; crossing fatalities increased 15.6 percent to 267 vs. 231 in 2013; and crossing injuries fell 14.4 percent to 832 from 972 in 2013. Fatalities caused by persons trespassing on railroad tracks and property surged 21.8 percent in 2014 to 526 (vs. 432 in 2013), while trespass injuries dropped 2.8 percent in 2014 to 419 (vs. 431 in 2013).

For 2014, the rail trespass casualty rate (deaths and injuries per million train-miles) is 1.23, its highest level in the last decade, and the highway-rail incident rate (incidents per million train-miles) is 2.98, the highest since 2008, Rose noted.

“Historically, highway-rail grade crossing collisions have dropped greatly in recent decades,” Rose pointed out. “While the number of people injured in crossing crashes and pedestrian-train incidents dropped in 2014, the statistics show that challenges remain in our mission to educate a busy, distracted public about the need for caution at train tracks,” said Rose.

States with the most crossing collisions in 2014 were Texas, Illinois, California, Indiana and Georgia. States with the most pedestrian-train casualties (deaths and injuries combined) in 2014 were California, Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York.

“These preliminary 2014 statistics demonstrate the continuing need to raise public awareness through our national ‘See Tracks? Think Train!’ campaign ,” Rose continued. “Operation Lifesaver, in partnership with major freight railroads, commuter and light rail systems, state and local law enforcement, and transportation agencies, will be expanding the campaign and developing new educational materials to encourage Americans to make safe decisions around tracks and trains,” she concluded.

About Operation Lifesaver

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 ; follow OLI on Facebook , Twitter , Instagram and Pinterest .

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