Safest U.S. Railroad Year Ever

The Association of American Railroads confirms 2012 was the safest year on record for U.S. freight railroad companies' operations.

The Association of American Railroads has confirmed 2012 was the safest year on record for U.S. freight railroad companies' operations, citing new statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration. "Nothing is more important to railroads than safety, and America's railroads are safer today than ever before," said Hamberger. "We are proud of the investments the rail industry has made to improve safety for employees, passengers, and the public at large. Rail technology is constantly evolving, and we will continue to invest in new technologies, training, and processes aimed at preventing incidents before they ever happen."

However, trespassing deaths rose in 2012. "These tragedies affect many communities across the country, and the freight rail industry remains committed to public education efforts that warn youth of the dangers of playing on railroad tracks," said Hamberger.

This is the second consecutive year of record results for the freight rail industry. The 2012 train accident rate per million train miles was down 19 percent from 2011, the employee casualty rate was down 9 percent, and the grade crossing collision rate was down 8 percent.

"According to FRA data, from 1980 to 2012 the U.S. train accident rate fell 80 percent and the U.S. rail employee injury rate fell 85 percent. Since 2000, the declines have been 45 percent and 52 percent, respectively. Train collisions per million train-miles have dropped 87 percent since 1980 and 36 percent since 2000," AAR reported.

"Freight rail is committed to constantly improving employee safety," said Hamberger. "Railroads today have lower employee injury rates than most other major industries, including trucking, agriculture, and construction. It is safer to work on a railroad than it is to work in a grocery store."

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