OIG report on FRA failures of recording crossing incidents

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OIG report on FRA failures of recording crossing incidents
Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, September 12, 2019 7:18 PM

Over 2000 incidents per year.  That is almost 6 a day.  More proactive policies seem to be needed.  Severe penalties for driver error along with crossing cameras might be a solution ?

https://www.oig.dot.gov/sites/default/files/FRA%20Grade%20Crossing%20Data%20Final%20Report%5E09-04-19.pdf  

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Posted by mudchicken on Thursday, September 12, 2019 9:14 PM

Image result for HogwashImage result for Hogwash Hogwash...Before anything else is done, fix the uneven reporting of the DOT's and the local police. The rubber tired bubbas are smelling up the place. Reporting is uneven at best.

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by charlie hebdo on Thursday, September 12, 2019 9:41 PM

Hogwash?  Perhaps you might address this with some constructive, fact-based analysis rather than crude invectives? 

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Posted by matthewsaggie on Thursday, September 12, 2019 9:59 PM

As I read the report, it's the railroads responsibility to report to the FRA. Not the DOT's or the law enforcement agency. Of course MC never misses a chance to dump on public officials, as if the railroads are perfect. Or he is.

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, September 12, 2019 10:10 PM

matthewsaggie
As I read the report, it's the railroads responsibility to report to the FRA. Not the DOT's or the law enforcement agency. Of course MC never misses a chance to dump on public officials, as if the railroads are perfect. Or he is.

My interactions with personnel on my company with the responsibiltiy to make those reports - stated that the governmental contacts are exceedingly hard to get to answer the phone to receive the reports.

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Posted by mudchicken on Friday, September 13, 2019 7:16 AM

matthewsaggie

As I read the report, it's the railroads responsibility to report to the FRA. Not the DOT's or the law enforcement agency. Of course MC never misses a chance to dump on public officials, as if the railroads are perfect. Or he is.

 

Grade crossing accident reporting is the responsibility of the  local investigating agency, not the railroad police (who can't be everywhere with their limited numbers; the railroad does fill out a monthly summary form of known incidents - neither form can be used in a civil trial). Accident record side of the FRA website for crossings frequently shows no forms or reports filled-out for accidents (some fatal) that happened at a crossing. Some jurisdictions are considerably worse than others and the proof comes when matching-up known incidents versus the record  that shows up in the FRA report. Things only got worse when the FRA revamped the forms and record in recent history. Those of us that have to research data to support applications for crossing closure, changes and upgrades for various reasons usually discover that the FRA record and prediction stats are "off" and predictably unreliable (errors on forms, etc.) - Nobody rides herd on these things from the state DOT's or FRA's side even though both have a role that is supposed to be more than just passing through data. Telling that when the lawsuits start, those of us working on parts of a lawsuit for crossing incident can recover a police report, newspaper reports, Highway Office reports, but not the FRA form (F-6180.57 Form) repeatedly. [Bridge strikes are even worse] Data integrity is a real problem.

Some cases are caused by the locals not knowing their responsibility, thinking somebody else is supposed to fill out the form or even that the form is there. Involvement in an Engineering Safety Team for OLI has been eye-opening. I've worked both sides and have the dirty, on the ground experience that questions the office hopping effectiveness of the article put into question.

CH -try doing your own research, I'm not doing it for you. Expert at everything, proficient at none doesn't help your credibility.

Matthew - Try reading the FRA instructions before making judgements like that. I would very much like to see the railroads re-engaged on the crossing inventory and accident reporting functions - what is there now is flat awful.

Simple case in point: In Denver, 136th Ave and 144th Ave have a reputation of being two of the worst crossings in the state. One crossing has no accidents reported and the other only a few (Fatals at both, both have seen upgrades after considerable political pressure)... There are plenty of others.

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by petitnj on Friday, September 13, 2019 9:07 AM

Here is another prime example of human stupidity leading to accidents. The government then decides to investigate and the investigation shows there are dangerous grade crossings. Then an accident occurs and the victims blame the railroad and government. When did it become government and railroads' responsibility for every stupid driver?  The lawyers win. 

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Friday, September 13, 2019 10:15 AM

Or in my industry how the Ambulance chasers love to claim that OTR trucks are involved in thousands of accidents a year and they can get you money.  They never disclose that 85% of all accidents are the fault of the car that was involved and that number is trending HIGHER now with dash cams becoming more popular in the industry as a way to show what happened at the time of impact.  It is very hard to deny you brake checked a truck when in court your car is shown cutting off the trucker and your standing on your brakes at the same time your getting plowed into.  It kinda makes the judges go case dismissed and the lawyers for the OTR trucking company go we are fighting a little harder to make this go away.  

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, September 13, 2019 10:52 AM

mudchicken

 

 
matthewsaggie

As I read the report, it's the railroads responsibility to report to the FRA. Not the DOT's or the law enforcement agency. Of course MC never misses a chance to dump on public officials, as if the railroads are perfect. Or he is.

 

 

 

Grade crossing accident reporting is the responsibility of the  local investigating agency, not the railroad police (who can't be everywhere with their limited numbers; the railroad does fill out a monthly summary form of known incidents - neither form can be used in a civil trial). Accident record side of the FRA website for crossings frequently shows no forms or reports filled-out for accidents (some fatal) that happened at a crossing. Some jurisdictions are considerably worse than others and the proof comes when matching-up known incidents versus the record  that shows up in the FRA report. Things only got worse when the FRA revamped the forms and record in recent history. Those of us that have to research data to support applications for crossing closure, changes and upgrades for various reasons usually discover that the FRA record and prediction stats are "off" and predictably unreliable (errors on forms, etc.) - Nobody rides herd on these things from the state DOT's or FRA's side even though both have a role that is supposed to be more than just passing through data. Telling that when the lawsuits start, those of us working on parts of a lawsuit for crossing incident can recover a police report, newspaper reports, Highway Office reports, but not the FRA form (F-6180.57 Form) repeatedly. [Bridge strikes are even worse] Data integrity is a real problem.

 

Some cases are caused by the locals not knowing their responsibility, thinking somebody else is supposed to fill out the form or even that the form is there. Involvement in an Engineering Safety Team for OLI has been eye-opening. I've worked both sides and have the dirty, on the ground experience that questions the office hopping effectiveness of the article put into question.

CH -try doing your own research, I'm not doing it for you. Expert at everything, proficient at none doesn't help your credibility.

Matthew - Try reading the FRA instructions before making judgements like that. I would very much like to see the railroads re-engaged on the crossing inventory and accident reporting functions - what is there now is flat awful.

Simple case in point: In Denver, 136th Ave and 144th Ave have a reputation of being two of the worst crossings in the state. One crossing has no accidents reported and the other only a few (Fatals at both, both have seen upgrades after considerable political pressure)... There are plenty of others.

 

M. Chicken: You made my point. I do not claim to be an expert on railroad accidents, only in my specialization within my field.   Never did.  Nor proficient. I notice you never provide data.  You on the other hand never miss a chance to disparage lawyers, government,  law enforcement officers,  the FRA, and even other departments on your railroad. It must be cool to be so perfect. But you are a "protected soecies" on here,  never criticized. 

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Posted by tree68 on Friday, September 13, 2019 1:12 PM

charlie hebdo
But you are a "protected species" on here,  never criticized. 

I've met MC - he knows his stuff.  I'm sure he could fill several pages with chapter and verse to back up his statements, but that's not what his employer pays him to do.

charlie hebdo
I notice you never provide data. 

Nor do you.  but you're quick to criticize others for not doing so.  MC has demonstrated numerous times in the past his in-depth knowledge and experience on things railroad.

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Posted by ROBIN LUETHE on Friday, September 13, 2019 1:49 PM

So long as they blamed automobile drivers and pedestrians the death rate only went higher as legal speed and size of other vehicles went up.  Humans, given our evolutionary cognition are not designed to cope with flying through the air at 500 mph nor dodging  X thousand ton trains.  Safety is a function of constant improving of infrastructure.  Railroads should not get a free pass.  Grade crossings, although economically necessary, are inherently dangerous and a national program to reduce the number is always in order.  

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, September 13, 2019 1:57 PM

Everybody agrees that grade crossings are an inherent safety hazard.  The problem is that you have to move heaven and earth in order to get one closed.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by tree68 on Friday, September 13, 2019 3:36 PM

CSSHEGEWISCH

Everybody agrees that grade crossings are an inherent safety hazard.  The problem is that you have to move heaven and earth in order to get one closed.

Everyone agrees that it's someone else's crossing that's a problem.  "Mine" is just fine...

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, September 13, 2019 5:09 PM

tree68

 

 
charlie hebdo
But you are a "protected species" on here,  never criticized. 

 

I've met MC - he knows his stuff.  I'm sure he could fill several pages with chapter and verse to back up his statements, but that's not what his employer pays him to do.

 

 
charlie hebdo
I notice you never provide data. 

 

Nor do you.  but you're quick to criticize others for not doing so.  MC has demonstrated numerous times in the past his in-depth knowledge and experience on things railroad.

 

But the point raised did not involve data.  MC is a railroad employee. I am not.  Thus he should be able to explain cogently what was wrong with the report.  Instead he went on his usual rant about dime store lawyers and bubbas etc. None of us are paid to participate on here,  so the fact that his employer doesn't is yet another red herring. 

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Posted by 7j43k on Friday, September 13, 2019 5:44 PM

ROBIN LUETHE

Humans, given our evolutionary cognition are not designed to cope with flying through the air at 500 mph nor dodging  X thousand ton trains.

I will disagree.

I think most humans ARE designed for that, being as most humans survive these threats to reproduce.

A very small fraction do not.  And a fraction of those consequently do not reproduce. 

This is called natural selection.  Over time, the percentage of humans who cannot deal with these threats will drop even lower--approaching zero.

 

And I would also like to correct another error:  Humans don't need to "dodge" X thousand ton trains.  The trains' actions are very predicatable.  With a bare minimum of thought, a human can easily avoid the need to dodge a train.

Truthfully, I cannot EVER recall the need to "dodge" a train.  On the other hand, perhaps you have experienced it numerous times.  Every one of which sounds like it would make an interesting story.

 

Ed

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Posted by tree68 on Friday, September 13, 2019 6:41 PM

7j43k
And I would also like to correct another error:  Humans don't need to "dodge" X thousand ton trains.  The trains' actions are very predictable.  With a bare minimum of thought, a human can easily avoid the need to dodge a train.

Alas, humans all too often do choose to "dodge" trains, instead of waiting patiently for them to pass.  Hurry, hurry, hurry.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, September 13, 2019 7:14 PM

In most industrialized nations,  there is much better separation between roads and rails. Why not here?

And your understanding of Darwin and evolutionary biology is very simplistic and flawed, to the point of  being comical. 

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Posted by tree68 on Friday, September 13, 2019 8:07 PM

charlie hebdo
In most industrialized nations,  there is much better separation between roads and rails. Why not here?

Exhibit A:  Ford Pinto.

Many railroads did make an effort at grade separation, witness the NY Central and it's water level route (now the Chicago Line).  There aren't a lot of grade crossings on that line, at least in NY state.

Lesser used lines, and lesser used crossings, probably weren't seen as economically justifiable.  

I've seen urban crossings where going over, or under, the tracks would have rendered some real estate less usable.  Lots of variables to consider.

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, September 13, 2019 8:26 PM

[quote user="charlie hebdo"]In most industrialized nations,  there is much better separation between roads and rails. Why not here? [/quote]

Cha Ching!  Nobody wants to be on the financial hook to bring it off.

In my little segment of the world CSX has two road crossings on the Old Main Line Sub that could easily be closed.  Main Street in downtown Sykesville and Gaither Road about 1.5 miles West of Main Street.  MD Route 32 crosses over the railroad on a overhead bridge about 200 yards East of Main Street.  There are reasonable routes from Route 32 that give access to all the properties that are served by both Main Street and Gaither Road.

To date there has been no will to close either crossing.  The Main Street crossing was functionally out of service for a year or more following the bridge across the Patapsco River (and large segments of the Old Main Line) being washed away in Hurricane Agnes in June of 1972.

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Saturday, September 14, 2019 12:16 AM

7j43k

I think most humans ARE designed for that, being as most humans survive these threats to reproduce. A very small fraction do not.  And a fraction of those consequently do not reproduce.  This is called natural selection.  Over time, the percentage of humans who cannot deal with these threats will drop even lower--approaching zero.

I get the expectation that the number should go toward zero, but from what is reported seems to indicate the opposite. The number of idiots involved in stupid accidents seems to be increasing and that worries me and I think many others. Would that the expectation that it would go toward zero but why then does Metra have more train-people fatalities than in the past?

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Posted by 7j43k on Saturday, September 14, 2019 12:52 AM

Electroliner 1935

 

 
7j43k

I think most humans ARE designed for that, being as most humans survive these threats to reproduce. A very small fraction do not.  And a fraction of those consequently do not reproduce.  This is called natural selection.  Over time, the percentage of humans who cannot deal with these threats will drop even lower--approaching zero.

 

I get the expectation that the number should go toward zero, but from what is reported seems to indicate the opposite. The number of idiots involved in stupid accidents seems to be increasing and that worries me and I think many others. Would that the expectation that it would go toward zero but why then does Metra have more train-people fatalities than in the past?

 

 

A good question!

One could almost suspect people were stupider than in the "olden days".

Another possibililty is that the population of humans intersecting railroad crossings has increased, thus enlarging the selection pool.

Certainly, people couldn't REALLY be getting stupider.  Could they?

I have seen a number of people drive through red lights and stop signs as if they don't apply to them.  Perhaps that is how they view railroad crossings.  One could wonder how they arrived at that opinion.

 

Ed

 

Ed

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Posted by tree68 on Saturday, September 14, 2019 6:55 AM

Electroliner 1935
Would that the expectation that it would go toward zero but why then does Metra have more train-people fatalities than in the past?

I would opine that it's due to increasing distraction, both from cell phones, etc, and just plain life.  People seem to have a lot on their minds...

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, September 14, 2019 7:32 AM

Electroliner 1935
 I get the expectation that the number should go toward zero, but from what is reported seems to indicate the opposite. The number of idiots involved in stupid accidents seems to be increasing and that worries me and I think many others. Would that the expectation that it would go toward zero but why then does Metra have more train-people fatalities than in the past?

Considering that current US population is approximately 327 Million - and that the travels of the that population creates billions if not trillions or quadrillion of incident opportunities on a annual basis I would poist that the number is about as near zero as would be statistically and humanly possible.  We look at a incident as being horrific, however in doing so we also overlook the millions of times that the particular hazard has been safely negotiated by others, if not by the incident individuals on this particular trip that ened up in the accident.

As long as humans move about their enviornment they are subject to accidental occurrence's that can claim their lives - walking across the floor, tripping on one's own feet - falling and striking one's head upon the surface one is walking upon also has a fatality rate.

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Posted by York1 on Saturday, September 14, 2019 10:24 AM

BaltACD
As long as humans move about their enviornment they are subject to accidental occurrence's that can claim their lives - walking across the floor, tripping on one's own feet - falling and striking one's head upon the surface one is walking upon also has a fatality rate.

 

Exactly.  Excellent point.

Saints Fan John

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Saturday, September 14, 2019 10:33 AM

Also throw in that most people that are walking today have their faces imbedded into a cellphone.  Then throw in most cars are so soundproofed to the outside that it takes almost an explosion outside to make anything heard.

 

Then throw in quiet zones and other ideas implemented by NIMBY's and political leaders that wanted to make those nasty trains quiet at night.  My boss did a sound meter test on 2 of our trucks our old spotter an 84 KW and one of the 2019 Volvos we just got at full load doing 55.  The KW was over 90DB the Volvo was less than 50 see why people are not aware of their enviroment.

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Posted by selector on Saturday, September 14, 2019 12:14 PM

It isn't going to be any one thing, but multiple factors that multiply the probability of the unwanted events. 

Being in a hurry, distracted, angry, desperate for some reason, poor judgement, sleep apnea's effects upon waking,...the list must have 20-30 possible causes for accidents at rail crossings. 

Same poop, different day.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Saturday, September 14, 2019 12:25 PM

Oh it's never the fault of  the railroads' faulty equipment.  On here it's always the fault of drivers.  

And nobody here wants to see proper separation of roads from railroads,  even though conditions are very different today compared with 100-150 years ago.  Oh,  too much money?   Human lives are what,  chopped liver? 

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Posted by Convicted One on Saturday, September 14, 2019 1:18 PM

BaltACD
they are subject to accidental occurrence's that can claim their lives - walking across the floor, tripping on one's own feet - falling and striking one's head upon the surface one is walking upon also has a fatality rate.

NO, Anyone with at least half a brain should realize that the ground is hard and avoid falling on it.  We need to devise a set of rules to protect against this. Whistling

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Posted by Paul of Covington on Saturday, September 14, 2019 1:21 PM

charlie hebdo
And nobody here wants to see proper separation of roads from railroads

   What data do you have to support this statement?

   Sorry, the devil made me do it.

_____________

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, September 14, 2019 1:38 PM

charlie hebdo
Oh it's never the fault of  the railroads' faulty equipment.  On here it's always the fault of drivers.  

And nobody here wants to see proper separation of roads from railroads,  even though conditions are very different today compared with 100-150 years ago.  Oh,  too much money?   Human lives are what,  chopped liver? 

Feel free to bankroll all the grade separation projects you want.  Railroads have been working for decades to eliminate road crossings at grade.  Local governments have also been working to create more road crossings at grade during the same period besides not wanting to fund grade separation projects.  Local government feature their constituents are no more than chopped liver and don't want to spend what is required to protect them.

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