Federal Railroad Administration Initiates Trespass Prevention Study in South Florida

WASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced that the City of West Palm Beach, FL and the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA), among other partners, will participate in the Trespass Prevention Research Study, a program designed to identify and review trespass laws and mitigation strategies.

The goal is to successfully reduce trespassing incidents and fatalities, the feds said.

The SFRTA area experienced ten fatalities due to illegal trespassing in the first eight months of 2008, half of which occurred in the West Palm Beach area. Research done by FRA in the region will help the agency better understand trespassing issues and assist in the development of national guidance on trespass prevention.

“The Federal Railroad Administration will continue to make railroad safety our highest priority,” said FRA Administrator, Joseph Szabo. “Efforts like this research study have the potential to reduce the number of trespassing injuries and fatalities in a big way.”

The number of railroad trespass fatalities first surpassed the number of fatalities at highway-rail grade crossings in 1997 and continues to be the leading cause of fatalities industry-wide. The study complements other efforts by the Federal Railroad Administration to combat trespassing, such as the 2008 Trespass Demographic Study and FRA’s ongoing partnership with Operation Lifesaver, Inc. to educate the public on the dangers of trespassing, according to the feds.