Newly released data from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Washington, D.C., confirms that recent years remain the safest ever for U.S. railroads. Through employee commitment to safety and investments in maintenance and new technologies, the industry has maintained a strong safety record, with the train accident rate down 28% in the last decade and last year marking the lowest rate of track-caused and human factor-caused accidents ever.

Notable statistics, calculated per million train miles using March 2018 FRA data, include:

  • Train accident rate is down 44% since 2000. 
  • Equipment-caused accident rate is down 38% since 2000.
  • Track-caused accident rate is down 55% since 2000. 
  • Human factor-caused accident rate is down 45% since 2000.
  • Derailment rate is down 42% since 2000.

“Every day, the men and women of the rail industry are making a safe network safer,” says Ed Hamberger, president and CEO of Association of American Railroads (AAR), Washington, D.C. “Investments in technology and employee training to advance safety in recent years have yielded significant gains that make railroading in America safer and more reliable than ever.”

The industry remains concerned about driver and pedestrian safety, with a 22% increase in trespassing deaths compared to 2016. Every three hours someone is hit by a train in the United States, and these accidents are almost entirely preventable. Every year, railroads spend millions to maintain and improve grade crossings as well as work directly with communities and law enforcement to educate the public about safe behavior near tracks.