On the Right Track: How Texas Plans to Reduce Highway-Railroad Crossing Collisions

Recent data from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) indicates that Texas experienced 246 crashes at highway-rail crossings last year, markedly more than any other state. These incidents resulted in 16 fatalities and 75 injuries, with damages exceeding $11 million. Comparatively, California, which follows Texas in these grim statistics, reported 73 fewer incidents. As Houston vehicle accident and injury attorneys, we find this trend very concerning.

The high number of incidents correlates with Texas having more railroad miles than any other state. “In the ’70s and ’80s, we were up to 12,000 collisions annually, and then in 2021, it was reduced all the way down to 2,000 nationally,” said Jessica Devorsky, executive director of Texas Operation Lifesaver. This organization, a leader in rail safety in the U.S., helped make these improvements through supporting continuous public education and awareness campaigns.

Analysis shows that the bulk of these incidents occur in densely populated counties such as Tarrant, and Dallas, where high traffic volumes and frequent train activities converge. “These are high population centers, and when you have a lot of people, you’ll have more cars, more pedestrians, and more freight rail,” explained Devorsky. The correlation between densely populated areas and increased incident rates highlights the importance of targeted safety campaigns in these regions.

The freight rail industry has recently faced heightened scrutiny, particularly following significant incidents like the East Palestine, Ohio, derailment in February 2023. While some have raised concerns about the implications of longer trains slowing down at crossings, Devorsky noted that current data does not directly link these industry practices with an increase in collision rates.

However, the Federal Railroad Administration has signaled a need for continued vigilance, pointing out that overall safety records have stagnated over the last decade.

As part of its commitment to reducing incidents, Texas Operation Lifesaver also emphasizes the importance of staying vigilant near train tracks and crossings. Trespassing onto tracks and into railroads, a significant issue nationwide, also has been a focal point of their educational efforts. “Trespassing casualties are up nationwide, so we are cautioning people to stay away from tracks and remain alert,” stated Devorsky.

Moreover, technological advancements and infrastructure improvements also are part of the strategy to enhance safety at these crossings, including measures such as upgrading signaling systems and installing digital platforms.

While Texas continues to lead the nation in highway-rail crossing collisions, the concerted efforts by state authorities, safety organizations, and the community are making a difference. The state’s proactive approach could serve as a model for others, demonstrating the potential impact of comprehensive safety programs and community engagement in reducing rail-related incidents. With ongoing education, improved technology, and community cooperation, the future of rail safety in Texas looks promising.

We at the Herd Law Firm, PLLC, are accident and personal injury attorneys proud to support workers injured on the road, the seas, or the rails. Our firm, based in Houston, Texas, has successfully represented such victims seeking the assistance and compensation they so need and deserve.Top of Form


Let’s Discuss Your Case

If you or someone that you know has contracted COVID-19 while on board a cruise ship, you may be entitled to compensation. If so, call the law offices of the Herd Law Firm, PLLC for a risk-free evaluation of your potential case.

Call 713-955-3699 now!

We Are Here To Answer Your Questions