America’s freight rail industry is among the safest sectors in the U.S. — and the world.
In fact, U.S. freight railroads have lower employee injury rates than most other major industries, including trucking, airlines, agriculture, manufacturing and construction — even lower than grocery stores. Thanks to large investments to upgrade and modernize the network, America’s rail industry achieved significant safety improvement across every recorded category over the last 20 years. Since 2000, train accident and hazmat accident rates are down 33% and 64%, respectively, while the rail employee injury rate in 2020 was at an all-time low.
Railroads continue to strive toward the ultimate goal of zero accidents. Through a multifaceted strategy of continued investment, innovative partnerships, technology deployment and operational improvement, railroads are making progress across all categories of safety — especially those that present persistent challenges such as accidents related to human error and at highway-rail grade crossings.
Railroads’ annual investments are central to this safety mission, but the ability to more broadly deploy technology targeting the underlying causes of accidents is critical to ushering in the next era of safety gains.