Freight railroading is an extremely safe industry.
The industry’s commitment to safety is reflected in safety statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration. Based on the three most common safety measures used by the FRA, recent years have been the safest in rail history.
Railroads are proud of their safety improvements, but the safety challenge never ends. Working together with their employees, suppliers, customers and with officials at the FRA and elsewhere in government, railroads constantly develop and implement new technologies and operating practices to further improve rail safety.
Continuous investment in safety requires the proper regulatory framework. Partial deregulation of the industry in 1980 sparked an industry transformation that continues to this day. In the decades since, railroads have earned sufficient revenue to continuously innovate and invest. Indeed, from 1980 to 2016, America’s freight railroads spent more than $660 billion — of their own funds, not government funds — on capital expenditures and maintenance expenses related to locomotives, freight cars, tracks, bridges, tunnels and other infrastructure and equipment. As a result, the freight rail sector is among the safest in the nation.