The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced that the City of West Palm Beach, Fla. and the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA), among other partners, will participate in a Trespass Prevention Research Study designed to identify and review trespass laws and mitigation strategies with a goal of successfully reducing trespass incidents and fatalities.
The SFRTA area experienced 10 fatalities due to illegal trespassing in the first eight months of 2008, one-half of which occurred in the West Palm Beach area. Research done by FRA in the region will help the agency better understand trespassing issues and assist in the development of national guidance on trespass prevention.
"The Federal Railroad Administration will continue to make railroad safety our highest priority," said FRA Administrator, Joseph Szabo. "Efforts like this research study have the potential to reduce the number of trespassing injuries and fatalities in a big way."
The number of railroad trespass fatalities first surpassed the number of fatalities at highway-rail grade crossings in 1997 and continues to be the leading cause of fatalities industry-wide.
The new study complements other efforts by the FRA to combat trespassing, such as the 2008 Trespass Demographic Study and FRA's ongoing partnership with Operation Lifesaver Inc. to educate the public on the dangers of trespassing.