The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety and reliability of the nation’s railroad system. To achieve this, the FRA collects, analyzes, and disseminates accident data, enforces safety regulations, and conducts thorough investigations when incidents occur. Let’s take a moment to delve into the intricate details of FRA accident data, reporting requirements, and the investigation process.

Accident/Incident Data

Regulations on reporting railroad accidents and incidents can be found in 49 CFR 225. The purpose of the regulations is to provide FRA with accurate information concerning the hazards and risks that exist on the Nation’s railroads.

FRA needs this information to effectively carry out its regulatory and enforcement responsibilities under the Federal railroad safety statutes. FRA also uses this information to determine comparative trends of railroad safety and to develop hazard elimination and risk reduction programs that focus on preventing railroad injuries and accidents.

Responsibility of Railroads to Report Accidents/Incidents to FRA

Railroads must report the following groups of accidents and incidents to FRA on a monthly basis:

  • Highway-rail grade crossing accidents/incidents,
  • Rail equipment accidents/incidents, and
  • Casualties to persons (for example, death and non-fatal injuries to all types of persons, and occupational illnesses involving railroad employees).

In addition to monthly railroad-reported accidents and incidents, railroads are required to provide FRA with immediate notification of various types of accidents. This notification is routed through the National Response Center, which notifies FRA of such accidents on a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week basis.

FRA Accident Investigations

FRA investigates accidents and incidents as determined by the Accident Analysis Branch or regional management. Examples of accidents and incidents that justify an FRA investigation include:

  • Any collision (main or yard track), derailment, or passenger train incident resulting in at least one fatality or serious injury to railroad passengers or crewmembers,
  • Any railroad-related accident resulting in death to an on-duty railroad employee, including an employee of a contractor to a railroad, regardless of craft,
  • Any non-casualty train accident resulting in derailment of a locomotive, 15 cars or more, and extensive property damage,
  • Any train accident/incident resulting in a fire, explosion, evacuation, or release of regulated hazardous materials, especially if it exposed a community to these hazards or the threat of such exposure,
  • Any train incident involving runaway or rollaway equipment, with or without locomotives,
  • Any collision involving maintenance-of-way or hi-rail equipment,
  • Any accident caused by failure of a locomotive or any part of a locomotive, or a person coming in contact with an electrically energized part that resulted in serious injury or death of one or more persons, and
  • Any train accident/incident likely to generate considerable public interest.

Contact Rossi Vucinovich for Help

If you sustained a railroad injury, please contact our law firm for help. Rossi Vucinovich PC has been helping railroad employees and people injured in railroad accidents recover from railroad injuries for over 50 years. We are dedicated to helping you obtain the benefits you need to treat your injuries, pay your bills, and continue supporting your families. Do yourself a favor and contact us today to get the legal help you deserve.