Thanks to a focus on education, enforcement and engineering, the number of train/motor vehicle collisions in the U.S. has fallen 84 percent – from a 1972 high of about 12,000 annual incidents to approximately 1,900 in 2020. But there are still too many incidents. In the U.S., a person or vehicle is hit by a train every three hours, according to Operation Lifesaver Inc., a non-profit rail safety education organization.
Rail Safety Week, which ran Sept. 20-26 this year, is an opportunity for the rail industry to raise awareness about railroad safety, primarily through education and enforcement. It’s also important to address safety at crossings through engineering wherever feasible. Since 2000, BNSF, working with municipalities and private landowners, has closed more than 6,000 of its at-grade crossings, permanently eliminating the possibility of a collision at these locations.
Learn more about what BNSF is doing to increase crossing safety here.