Ater two girls were killed in a train-school bus wreck in Tennessee in 2000, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended states make it a high priority to improve safety at ungated railroad crossings used by buses. But since then, only 12 states have made satisfactory progress, the Associated Press reports. They are Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina and Texas.
And seven of the 10 states with the most collisions between trains and all kinds of vehicles at grade crossings have largely ignored the recommendation. They are Alabama, California, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi and Ohio. “Children continue to be unnecessarily killed in school bus accidents at grade crossings,” NTSB Chairman Ellen Engleman said. Vehicles and trains collide an average of nine times a day. More than 1,000 people have been killed since the Tennessee crash. In the first five months of this year, there were 1,205 crashes, including four involving school buses, and 155 deaths. The 82,000 crossings where there are no gates present the greatest danger; the accident rate is seven times that for crossings with gates that block vehicles.