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Thu Feb 13, 2020, 08:29 AM

Combatting distracted communities to boost rail safety

Incidents at grade crossings and involving trespassers are not new to railroads, but the reasons for an increase in these incidents have shifted, making the industry find new ways to address these issues. While an increase in mental health awareness campaigns have helped address intentional rail fatalities, another problem has surfaced: distracted behavior.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Office of Safety Analysis, there were 597 nonfatal trespassing incidents from Jan. 1, 2019 through Oct. 30, 2019 and there were 535 fatal trespassing incidents for the same timeframe. And in Florida alone, FRA reports there were 106 grade crossing incidents at public and private crossings from January 2019 to October 2019.To combat this, industry stakeholders, including Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Brightline and L.B. Foster, are implementing a combination of engineering solutions and education campaigns that focus on improving rail safety.

Engineering a safer crossing

Florida is consistently one of the states with the highest number of grade-crossing incidents, according to the FRA, reporting 399 highway-rail crossing incidents for the calendar year of 2019. FDOT says one reason is people are stopping on the tracks without realizing. So, Brightline and FDOT turned their attention to at-grade crossings to help get people off the tracks. ......(more)


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