Railroad association applauds crossing safety agreement

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) recently congratulated the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Google on their new partnership to improve the safety of railroad crossings.

"The grade crossing collision rate has fallen nearly every year since 1980 and about 35 percent since 2000, but too many collisions still occur and virtually all of them are preventable," AAR President and CEO Edward Hamberger said. "The FRA's work with Google will provide a technological tool for motorists to build further safety awareness at crossings. The freight rail industry supports any and all efforts designed to focus people's attentions on the inherent dangers around grade crossings.

"As FRA statistics show, freight rail safety has been improving dramatically over the last several decades and together with Operation Lifesaver and other key stakeholders, the push for improved safety and general awareness about the dangers at railroad tracks and grade crossings will continue on a 24/7 basis," Hamberger said.

Hamberger said freight railroads spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to maintain and improve grade crossings, and the AAR has long supported the federal Section 130 program that provides funds to state governments for grade crossing safety enhancements such as installing new active warning devices, upgrading existing devices and improving grade crossing surfaces.

"Section 130 funding has contributed to the prevention of tens of thousands of injuries and fatalities,” Hamberger said. “Continued dedicated funding of this important program will mean more injuries averted and more lives saved.”

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