NHTSA on Rail Grade Safety Month 2021

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently gearing up for Rail Safety Month and National Rail Safety Week. This year, Rail Safety Month kicks off on September 6 and runs until September 27. Rail Safety week will be September 20-26. Throughout the month, the NHTSA, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will be running an ad campaign to increase public awareness about the dangers associated with rail grade crossings and how to navigate them safely.

U.S. Train Crash Stats

  • In 2020, there were 1,377 motor vehicle crashes at public rail grade crossings.
  • In those crashes, there were 94 deaths and 494 people injured.
  • Between 2016 and 2020, there were 7,800 crashes between freight and commuter trains and motor vehicles, resulting in 624 deaths and 3,128 people injured at rail grade crossings.
  • Freight and commuter train incidents and fatalities have declined dramatically for decades, but in recent years, drivers are disregarding warning signs or going around active warning devices.
  • From 2016 to 2020, 1,620 crashes occurred when drivers went around or through lowered gates, accounting for 21 percent of all collisions.


The “STOP. TRAINS CAN’T.” campaign is specifically aimed at raising awareness about the importance of stopping and waiting for trains to pass. It can certainly feel like trains are slow or they’re taking forever when you’re stuck at a rail crossing, but they’re extremely powerful, and they can’t stop on a dime.

Motorists should never try to beat a train or go around crossing arms. A train can take a mile or more to stop, and motorists can’t accurately gauge the distance and speed that a train is traveling. If lights are flashing or a crossing arm is down or going down, just stop and wait. It’s not worth your life. It may take a few extra minutes, but you’ll arrive at your destination alive.

If you have been injured or if you have lost a loved one in a railroad crossing accident in San Diego or anywhere in Southern California, contact the skilled and proven team at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. at 1.800.GO.HARRIS for a free case consultation today.

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