WASHINGTON — Trespassers account for the largest number of fatalities in the railroad industry — approximately 500 per year.
In order to better understand who is trespassing, their locations, and the reasons they are on railroad property, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a report using three years of reported trespasser fatalities.
Medical examiners and coroners across the country were surveyed, and based on the best information available from those who elected to participate in the study, the average trespasser is most often a 38-year-old white male under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, with a median household income of $36,000.
More than 25 percent did not graduate from high school, and 18 percent were determined to be suicides. The report, Rail-Trespasser Fatalities: Developing Demographic Profiles, includes a state-by-state breakdown and shows California and Texas recording the highest number of such events.
The report strongly recommends additional demographic analysis to reinforce and expand on these results in order to develop targeted educational and outreach programs and law enforcement initiatives to reduce the number of rail trespassing incidents.