Skip to main content

Operation Lifesaver, Inc. concerned by rise in 2017 crossing collisions, trespass incidents

By Operation Lifesaver

WASHINGTON, DC, March 15, 2018 — Recently-released U.S. government statistics reveal that railroad grade crossing incidents and rail trespass casualties increased in 2017, according to rail safety education nonprofit Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI). Interim OLI President Wende Corcoran cited Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) statistics that show U.S. crossing collisions rose 3.1 percent, crossing deaths increased 7.4 percent and crossing injuries decreased 4.3 percent from 2016 to 2017. Total casualties (deaths and injuries) from rail trespassing climbed 13.3 percent in 2017; trespass deaths grew 22.3 percent and trespass injuries increased 4.6 percent from their levels in 2016.

Preliminary U.S. Rail Crossing and Trespass Statistics, 2017 vs. 2016

Source: Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis

YearCrossing CollisionsCrossing Deaths  Crossing Injuries  Year  Trespass Casualties (Deaths + Injuries)Trespass DeathsTrespass Injuries
% Change+3.1+7.4-4.3% Change+13.3+22.3+4.6

“We are very concerned about the increase in crossing incidents and deaths, and alarmed by the sharp rise in trespass deaths,” said Corcoran. “We will be focusing public attention on these issues during Rail Safety Week, September 23-29, in the U.S. and Canada. Throughout the year, Operation Lifesaver state programs continue to work closely with the FRA and our safety partners at freight, passenger and commuter railroads and in communities across the country to help people stay safe near tracks and trains,” she stated.

“Increasing public awareness is absolutely paramount to helping people make better decisions around railroad grade crossings and tracks,” said FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory. “The Federal Railroad Administration, in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has re-launched our national ‘Stop. Trains Can’t.’ campaign to further educate people about the dangers of grade crossings and to reach key, at-risk demographics. The Department of Transportation is unwavering, deliberate, and committed to this important issue.”

For 2017, the rail trespass casualty rate (deaths and injuries per million train-miles) was 1.55, its highest level in the last decade, and the highway-rail incident rate (incidents per million train-miles) was 3.01, an increase from 2016, according to FRA preliminary statistics.

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.

About Operation Lifesaver - Operation Lifesaver is a nonprofit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and preventing trespassing on or near railroad tracks. A national network of trained volunteers provides free presentations on rail safety and a public awareness campaign, “See Tracks? Think Train!” equips the public with tips and statistics to encourage safe behavior near the tracks. Learn more at; follow OLI on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram


Next article