Safer Crossings: Highway-Rail Fatalities Reach Record Low in ’03

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WASHINGTON – The nation’s rail transportation system achieved a record low number of highway-rail grade crossing fatalities in 2003, statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) show.

Preliminary full-year statistics compiled by the FRA also reveal similar improvements for other key measures of industry safety, despite an increase in the overall number of train-miles operated.

In 2003, highway-rail grade crossing fatalities declined to a record low of 324, down 9 percent from last year and a more than 47 percent since 1994. There were 862 rail-related fatalities last year, down almost 10 percent from 2002. 96 percent of those fatalities are the result of highway-rail crossing collisions or trespassing.

Also during 2003, a record low 19 railroad employees were killed. Reportable employee injuries declined to 5,948 in 2003, a decrease of 10.5 percent from 2002.