Texas is one of four states with the most fatal trespasser strikes along rail lines according to a report published by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
The report provided a summary of FRA trespasser strike data from calendar years 2012–2017, including intentional (suicide) andaccidental or inconclusive (non-suicide) fatalities on rights-of-way (ROWs). The results of the analysis show that California, New York, Florida, and Texas consistently had the highest number of fatal trespasser strikes, regardless of intent.
During the five year period Texas logged 69 fatalities attributed to suicides and 163 trespasser deaths and was ranked fourth in the nation. California ranked #1 with 250 rail-related suicides and 451 trespasser deaths.
Trespassers on the ROW are defined by FRA as, “Persons who are on the part of railroad property used in railroad operation and whose presence is prohibited, forbidden, or unlawful” (FRA, 2011). FRA’s past efforts to address the problem of people trespassing on railroad property have focused on outreach to the public, railroads, and law enforcement agencies. In its 2018 National Strategy to Prevent Trespassing on Railroad Property report to Congress (National Trespass Strategy), FRA outlines a national, proactive approach to address the root causes of trespassing.
The analysis of train strike data provides historical findings to FRA and railroads so they can address the populations and locations most at risk. The findings may also provide value in the development and implementation of strategies to mitigate the number of suicide and non-suicide trespasser strikes that occur on U.S. railways. This analysis also seeks to identify potential limitations that could lead to inconsistencies in the data, such as the number of categories available and the use of definitions.