DETROIT (AP) – Officials say errors by motorists, including distracted driving, are mostly to blame for an increase in train-vehicle crashes in Michigan.
Federal Railroad Administration figures show Michigan has 78 crashes last year where 12 people died and 25 were injured. In 2013, there were 61 crashes, with three deaths and 26 injuries.
Increased regulations and safety measures over the last 40 years had contributed to an earlier decline.
Sam Crowl is state coordinator of Operation Lifesaver, a nonprofit promoting railroad crossing safety and trespassing prevention. Crowl says “the sad truth is that nearly all these deaths are preventable” and people “are just in too much of a rush.”
The Michigan Department of Transportation has an annual safety program that installs enhanced warning devices at some crossings.