Railroads’ annual investments to modernize and improve America’s freight rail network have significantly contributed to freight rail’s strong safety record.

In fact, there is a direct correlation between the increase in rail network investments and enhanced safety performance.

With record levels of private spending on capital improvements and maintenance over the last five years and more than $660 billion spent since 1980, America’s privately owned freight railroads are at the forefront of advancing safety.

U.S. railroads had the lowest train accident rate on record in 2017, according to data from the Federal Railroad Administration. Derailment rates, which declined 9% in 2016 from 2015, as well as track-caused accident rates, are also both all-time lows. The 2017 rail safety statistics continue a string of record-setting years, showing this period has been the safest ever for the rail sector. According to December 2017 FRA data based on per million train miles, since 2000 the:

  • Train accident rate is down 44%.
  • Equipment-caused accident rate is down 38%.
  • Track-caused accident rate is down 55% to an all-time low.
  • Derailment rate is down 42%.

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