Car Vs. Train Accidents: What Do the Statistics Say?
The car and train accidents we see in the news often leave us wondering: which is more dangerous? The statistics for each mode of transportation vary depending on what countries are being considered, how many people intake public transportation versus driving their cars, etc. However, when looking at these tragic events, some trends happen all too often.
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How Are the Numbers?
When it comes to car accidents vs. train accidents, which one is more dangerous? The answer may surprise you. According to statistical data from the National Safety Council, there were over 34,000 deaths caused by car accidents in 2016. In comparison, there were only 892 deaths caused by train accidents during that same year.
While it’s essential to be aware of the dangers of both modes of transportation, it seems that cars are much more deadly than trains overall. However, according to data compiled by the Federal Railroad Administration, there were three times as many railroad crossing fatalities in 2016.
It’s important to consider that all of these statistics are just averages. While one mode of transportation might have a higher average number of deaths per year, this does not necessarily mean it is always more dangerous than the other.
Which is the Common Cause?
Both car and train accidents often share a common cause: human error. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver inattention and distractions were responsible for an average of 448,000 accidents per year between 2011-2015.
The NHTSA also reports that approximately 80% of all railroad crossing collisions are due to driver behavior. This demonstrates the immediate need for drivers to remain alert on the road and rail operators to be vigilant at railroad crossings.
Which Accidents Are More Common?
Car accidents are also more common than train accidents because of how easy they are to survive. A car accident can cause severe damage, killing or seriously injuring occupants, but serious injuries are rare compared to the average train accident.
During 2016, there were 53 fatalities and 2,036 injuries caused by train accidents per million train miles traveled. This is compared to an average of 8 deaths and four injuries per year for every billion car miles driven.
What Can We Do To Reduce The Number Of Car And Train Accidents?
There are several ways to help reduce the number of car and train accidents. Drivers should always use their best judgment when on the road, refrain from using cell phones while driving, obey all traffic laws and become more alert at railroad crossings.
Railroad companies can also increase their safety by adding warning signals to crossings and implementing new technologies like Positive Train Control (PTC). PTC wirelessly communicates with the train and tracks the location of each train to guide operators, preventing them from reaching dangerous speeds near crossings.
By comparing car and train accidents statistics, cars are more deadly than trains overall. However, this does not mean that we should avoid taking public transportation. Both modes of transportation have their dangers, and it’s essential to be aware of them. To help reduce the number of car and train accidents, drivers need to remain alert on the road and obey all traffic laws.
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