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Highway-Rail Grade Crossings

Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Accidents:

In 2000, the rail industry continued its downward trend in the number of grade crossing accidents. There were an estimated 3,441 crossing accidents versus 3,489 in 1999. While this is encouraging news, grade crossing accidents continue to be the second leading cause of rail-related fatalities, exceeded only by trespasser deaths. The U.S. Department Of Transportation (DOT) seeks continual decreases in grade crossing accidents.

Strategies and Initiatives to Achieve 2002 Target:

DOT resources attributable to this performance goal are depicted below:

DOT sets and enforces safety standards, investigates major train accidents, and educates the public on the dangers associated with highway-rail crossings. DOT continues to develop both ongoing and new technologies aimed at reducing crossing accidents.

FRA oversees the modification and elimination of grade crossings. Also, FHWA provides Surface Transportation Program (STP) funding to States for highway hazard elimination, including crossing hazard elimination initiatives.

FRA, FHWA and NHTSA will continue to support Operation Lifesaver, a non-profit national organization devoted to preventing and reducing crashes, injuries and fatalities and improving driver performance at the Nation’s more than 254,000 public and private highway-rail grade crossings. A key goal of Operation Lifesaver is also the prevention of rail trespassing by raising awareness about the deadly consequences of trespassing on rail property. ($1.025 million)

FRA funding for rail safety is increasing by 9 percent to $154 million. These funds will be used to reduce rail fatalities, highway-rail grade crossing fatalities, and trespasser accidents. FRA will add 26 additional safety positions, four of which will specifically support highway-rail grade crossing activities and trespassing prevention.

External Factors:

U.S. railroad activity has reflected the economic boom of the 1990’s, with a rapid expansion in the amount of rail freight and passengers hauled. Since 1990, revenue ton-miles and train-miles have risen almost 40% and 20%, respectively. Additionally, there are approximately 155,000 public and 99,000 private grade crossings nationwide. These factors increase the risk and likelihood of highway-rail grade crossing accidents.

2000 Results:

DOT did not meet the performance target. Although there were fewer grade crossing accidents in 2000 than in 1999, train-miles increased and vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) appeared to have plateaued, affecting the rate. In addition, while “public” crossing accidents have fallen 4% from 1999, “private” crossing accidents rose 15%. FRA has limited authority or control over the latter.



This information came from a
DOT online article.

*** Any law, statute, regulation or other precedent is subject to change at any time ***

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