"As the nation’s chief rail safety regulator, nothing is more poignant to me than the simple fact that trespassing is the leading cause of all rail related deaths... Just last year, more than 500 people were killed and about 400 people were seriously injured as a result of trespassing. And as a safety official, this statistic is especially sobering, because each one of those deaths and injuries were completely preventable." says Sarah Feinberg, Acting Federal Rail Administrator. "Generally, Americans just don’t equate railroad rights-of-way or rail bridges with life-threatening danger. These lessons simply have not sunk into the consciousness of the American people. The bottom line is that our Nation, starting with our children, must think of railroads and rail operations differently."
Feinberg made these remarks at the opening of the March, 2015 Forum on Trains and Trespassing: Ending Tragic Encounters.
We couldn't agree more. Yet the Federal Government spends $220 million per year to improve the safety of road crossings but nothing on the safety of the actual corridors where these tragedies occur.
Railroad corridors often divide communities. They may be the shortest and most direct path for locals to get to school, jobs or other destinations.
Simply putting up a sign, handing out a brochure at the local Walmart telling residents not to walk on the tracks isn't working as rising trespasser casualties demonstrate.
Making these corridors safer by offering multimodal accomodations and offering safe passage is a major step to reducing injuries and fatalities.
For more information on the Forum, click here.