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The Facts about Kentucky Train Accidents

Seventeen people were killed in  train-related accidents in Kentucky last year. More recently, a man died after a train struck him in northern Kentucky. According to WCPO, the man was on the railroad tracks on a bridge at the time of the incident, which remained under investigation.

Although the number of Kentucky train fatalities fell in 2012, such deaths had been rising over the past few years:

  • 2009 – 6 Fatalities
  • 2010 – 15 Fatalities
  • 2011 – 21 Fatalities

Of the train-related deaths in 2012, 68 percent involved trespassing incidents. Just over 32 percent were caused by highway-rail incidents.  Kentucky had a total of 47 highway-rail incidents last year.

The Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis defines a highway-rail incident as “any impact between a rail and a highway user at a crossing site, regardless of severity. [This includes] motor vehicles and other highway/roadway/sidewalk users at both public and private crossings.” Such incidents typically occurred at public crossings rather than private crossings.

The state also had 25 train accidents, which are defined differently from highway-rail incidents. The Federal Railroad Administration defines a train accident as “an event involving on-track rail equipment that results in monetary damage to the equipment and track above a certain threshold.” The causes behind last year’s train accidents were:

  • Human Error – 36 percent
  • Track Problems – 28 percent
  • Other Causes – 24 percent
  • Equipment Problems (cars or locomotives) – 8 percent
  • Signal Problems – 4 percent

Train accidents have declined in Kentucky in the last few years, from 27 accidents in 2011 and 34 in 2010 and. Of the accidents in 2012, 76 percent resulted in derailment.