The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), an agency in the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), recently announced the award of Railroad Trespassing Enforcement Grants totaling in excess of $500,000 to law enforcement agencies in multiple states in support of life-saving trespass abatement efforts ().
“This money will help local law enforcement agencies deter people from taking unnecessary risks around railroad tracks, while continuing the focus on those specific populations that are known to subject themselves to such risks around railroad tracks,” said FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory.
FRA has allocated total funds of $528,028 to 11 different projects in six states (California, Florida, Massachusetts, Montana, North Carolina, and New Jersey), after receiving 23 eligible grant applications. In determining the recipients of the grants, FRA emphasized trespass “hot spots” – locations that have experienced high occurrences of the behavior. From 2014 to 2018, there were 4,721 trespass incidents in the United States, resulting in 2,412 deaths.
- Data Gathering and Analysis
- Community Site Visits
- Developing Partnerships with Stakeholders
When selecting the grantees, FRA gave preference to states with the most trespass-related incidents, while also factoring in geographic diversity and innovative approaches to saving lives.
Grants to law enforcement agencies will require outcome reports, ensuring agencies meet project goals and providing the rationale for enforcement activities. “Local law enforcement officers know these areas and the residents’ needs, so we’re investing to help them serve their communities,” Batory said. “This work and resulting information will help us save even more lives.”
Railroad trespassing is a legitimate safety concern and an appropriate target for FRA’s grant program. Perhaps one day the railroad industry will take it upon itself to enact these safety measures even without the benefit of federal funding.
If you have been injured in a railroad accident, it is critical that you hire an experienced attorney. Please call DBJ today at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation.