(Baton Rouge, Louisiana – May 16, 2011)
Louisiana’s Public Service Commission summoned the 21 railroad companies operating in the Pelican State to a special meeting today, May 16, 2011 at 2:00 P.M. at the Galvez State Building. The meeting was prompted after concerns over new federal statistics which show Louisiana as fifth highest state in the nation for vehicle/train collisions, fourth in vehicle/train fatalities and third in vehicle/train injuries.
This call to meeting also comes after the Federal Railroad Administration mandate to implement a state-specific railroad safety program.
“The numbers of vehicle-train collisions and resulting deaths and injuries all increased in Louisiana last year over 2009,” said north Louisiana’s Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell. “Louisiana has one of the worst records in America for accidents involving trains and vehicles,” Campbell said. “Yet, the railroad companies are obstructing measures that can save lives. Why?”
Questions like this regarding a Railroads lack of compliance or complacency towards dangerous highway/railroad crossings should be asked on a regular basis. All too often the dangerous conditions which cause fatality and accident statistics to go up are not fixed until after an accident or fatality actually occurs at the specific crossing. Unfortunately the industry which is best suited to cure the dangerous conditions is the very industry which profits from the lack of safety features.
As the entities which are aware of the conditions that make crossings dangerous and how to make them safe, Railroads should be held accountable for their actions and for putting profits over peoples’ safety.