Federal Railroad Administrator Sarah Feinberg is calling for greater action to prevent fatalities at the nation's 200,000 railroad crossings, following several deadly incidents in recent weeks.
Over the past six weeks, three incidents at crossings in California, Colorado and Arkansas have resulted in 11 deaths of parents and young children, Feinberg said in a press release.
The incidents are in addition to another 87 people killed and 236 people injured this year at railroad crossings, she said.
"While many of these incidents are still under investigation, we know that incidents like these are almost always preventable. And yet, they still happen. We all must do more to protect drivers and their passengers — many of whom are children," Feinberg said.
She called on railroads to redouble their efforts to integrate new technologies to avoid incidents at crossings, and to be more aggressive in reporting problematic or dangerous crossings to state and local officials.
States should leverage their own funds in addition to applying for available federal dollars to improve safety at crossings, she said.
Feinberg also asked technology companies to integrate Federal Railroad Administration(FRA) data into mapping applications and other pertinent technology as soon as possible.
Last year, the FRA launched a campaign to reverse the increase in fatalities at railroad crossings that included partnering with tech companies to use FRA data that pinpoints the nation's crossings and add crossing alerts to map applications.
Improving railroad-crossing safety continues to be one of the FRA's highest priorities, Feinberg noted.
"We have put more focus and attention on this problem than ever before — through funding, a brighter public spotlight, new attention from FRA safety specialists, new research, new partnerships with tech companies and law enforcement and more aggressive and frequent investigations," she said. "We will continue to do all that we can to have a greater impact on this solvable challenge — and we urge our partners and friends to join us."