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

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

Year Crossing Collisions Crossing Deaths   Crossing Injuries   Year   Trespass Casualties (Deaths + Injuries) Trespass Deaths Trespass Injuries
2016 2,041 255 843 2016 953 470 483
2017 2,105 274 807 2017 1,080 575 505
% 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 http://www.oli.org; follow OLI on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram


Media Contact

Operation Lifesaver, Inc. understands the importance of the news media’s role in helping the public make safe decisions around tracks and trains.

To request further information about Operation Lifesaver’s activities, or for additional safety information, email general[at]oli.org or contact our national headquarters office at 703-739-0308.

If you are a reporter seeking information for a local news story, view our list of state Operation Lifesaver program contacts.

If you are on deadline for a story and would like Operation Lifesaver, Inc.'s perspective on a highway-rail safety or trespass prevention topic, email news[at]oli.org

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 trespassing on or near railroad tracks. Our team consists of nationwide network of volunteers who work to educate people about rail safety, state coordinators who lead the efforts in states across the U.S. and a national office in Washington, D.C., that supports state programs, develops education materials, and creates public awareness campaigns for audiences of all ages. 


National Office

Operation Lifesaver, Inc.
425 Third Street SW, Suite 915
Washington, D.C. 20024

Fax: 703-519-8267
Email : [email protected]

Media Inquiries: [email protected]

Transit Inquiries: [email protected]

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