OLI Says Grade Crossing Fatalities Rose in 2017

Deaths caused by trespassing on railroad property and at grade crossings rose in 2017, Operation Lifesaver said this week.

Trespassing fatalities jumped by 22.3 percent while those at grade crossings increased by 7.4 percent last year when compared with 2016 figures.

The data came from the Federal Railroad Administration, which said 575 died and 505 were were injured after trespassing on railroad property in 2017.

At grade crossings, 274 were killed and 807 were injured last year.

When comparing 2017 to 2016, total casualties, which includes deaths and injuries, rose 13.3 percent in trespassing incidents while the number of collisions at grade crossings increased 3.1 percent to 2,105 from 2,041 in 2016.

“We are very concerned about the increase in crossing incidents and deaths, and alarmed by the sharp rise in trespass deaths,” said OLI Interim President Wende Corcoran in a statement.
OLI said that the 2017 railroad trespassing casualty rate — deaths and injuries per million train miles — was 1.55, the highest level in the past decade.

The highway-rail incident rate — incidents per million train miles — was 3.01, an increase from 2016.

States with the most crossing collisions in 2017 were Texas, California, Illinois, Florida and Georgia. States with the most trespasser casualties — deaths and injuries combined — in 2017 were California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

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