Facts and Statistics (U.S. and Minnesota)
In 1972, when Operation Lifesaver began, there were approximately 12,000 collisions between trains and motor vehicles annually. By 2011, the most recent year for which preliminary statistics are available, the number of train/motor vehicle collisions decreased by more than 80% to about 1,600. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) within the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) is responsible for collecting information about highway-rail grade crossing and pedestrian/trespasser incidents.
- On average, more people die in highway-rail crashes than in commercial airline crashes each year.
- When a vehicle-train collision occurs, it is equivalent to a car crushing a soda can.
- A typical 100-car freight train weighs the same as 4,000 automobiles combined.
- About two-thirds of all collisions at crossings in the United States happen in daylight.
- Approximately every two hours, either a vehicle or a pedestrian is struck by a train in the U.S., an average of 12 incidents each day.
- According to statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration: in 2011, 214 people were killed and 849 seriously injured in 1394 highway-rail grade crossing collisions (combined public and private crossings).
- In 2011, five people were killed and another 11 injured in 39 highway-rail grade crossing collisions in Minnesota.
- In 2011 in the United States 365 people were killed while trespassing on railroad right-of-way and property, including six people in Minnesota. An additional 298 trespassers were injured nationwide.
- A motorist is almost 20 times more likely to die in a crash involving a train than in a collision involving another motor vehicle.
- More than half of all grade crossing collisions occur where train speeds are 30 mph or less.
- There are 20 freight railroads, the Amtrak passenger service , the Hiawatha corridor light rail line, and the NorthStar passenger line operating in Minnesota.
- There are 4,450 rail line miles in Minnesota. If you placed all the railroad tracks in Minnesota end to end, you could ride a train from Minnesota to Washington D.C. and back almost twice.
- There are approximately 203,000 miles of railroad track in the United States.
- Approximately 30% of public crossings in Minnesota have active warning devices.
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration three out of four collisions occur within 25 miles of a motorist's home. Fifty percent of all collisions occur within five miles of home.
Federal Railroad Administration
Operation Lifesaver, Inc.
Minnesota Department of Transportation
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