WASHINGTON – Rail safety education nonprofit Operation Lifesaver said that, while highway-rail crossing collisions are down slightly, deaths and injuries from crossing crashes and pedestrian-train incidents rose in the first four months of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.
“Federal Railroad Administration statistics show that grade crossing crashes are 1.4 percent lower in the first four months of this year; however, the increase in deaths and injuries from crossing collisions and pedestrian-train trespass incidents is a very troubling trend,” said Operation Lifesaver Inc., (http://www.oli.org) President Helen M. Sramek.
Sramek noted that since 1997, more people have been killed while trespassing on tracks than from vehicle-train collisions at railroad crossings, according to FRA statistics.
“Based on news accounts of incidents, texting, headphones and other distractions appear to be part of the problem,” she continued. “Increasing public awareness of the need for caution near train tracks is important. Our recent public service advertising campaigns caution pedestrians to eliminate distractions around train tracks: stay focused, stay alive,” Sramek concluded.