Railroad Crossing Safety

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have launched a national railroad crossing safety ad campaign to increase public awareness around railroad tracks and reduce crossing deaths and injuries.

The goal of the Rail Grade Crossing Campaign is to raise awareness about the need for rail-safety education and empower the public to keep themselves and others safe near highway-rail grade crossings and railroad rights-of-way.

This campaign is a focused effort to reverse the uptick in railroad crossing fatalities.  The message is simple: STOP. TRAINS CAN’T.

The Stop. Trains Can’t. campaign will run in two flights in 2022: March 22 – April 12, 2022, and September 12 – October 30, 2022 (Rail Safety Week is September 19-25, 2022).

Railroad Crossing Safety Facts

  • About every three hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train in the U.S.
  • In 2020, there were 1,377 motor vehicle collisions at public rail grade crossings, resulting in 94 fatalities and 494 people injured
  • Between 2016 and 2020, there were 7,800 collisions between freight and commuter trains and motor vehicles, resulting in 624 fatalities and 3,128 people injured at public rail grade crossings.
  • Freight and commuter train incidents and fatalities have declined dramatically for decades, but many drivers have disregarded warning signs or circumnavigated active warning devices in recent years. From 2016 to 2020, 1,620 collisions occurred when drivers went around or through a lowered gate, accounting for 21% of all collisions. These deaths were largely preventable and caused by risky driving behaviors and poor decision-making.
  • Combined, railroad crossing and trespasser deaths have accounted for approximately 94% of all rail-related deaths over the past ten years.
  • Just over one half (54%) of all public crossings are active (include gates, bells, and/or flashing lights) while just under half are passive (include signs and markings, but do not include active warning devices). Always expect a train on any track at any time.
  • The U.S. Railroad System consists of 830 railroads, 134,000 miles of track, and 216,000 railroad crossings.
  • Almost three-fourths (73%) of railroad crossing accidents occur in clear weather conditions
  • Trains cannot stop quickly! A train traveling at 55 MPH takes a mile or more to stop!

Railroad Crossing Safety Tips for Motorists

  • Be prepared to stop at the crossing
  • Slow down, look both ways, and listen
  • Understand the signs and warning devices
  • Check that you have enough room on the other side of the tracks for your vehicle to cross safely
  • Never race a train
  • Never stop on tracks

For additional information on the Stop. Trains Can’t. Rail Grade Crossing Campaign, see the following resources:

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