Group Names Worst Texas Counties for Rail Safety

January 12, 2009

Harris County is the most dangerous county in Texas for railway accidents, according to a recently released report.

There were 1,376 reported incidents including derailments, collisions, pedestrian trespassing and hazardous material releases from 1998 through 2007 in the county, according to the report from the Texas Rail Relocation and Improvement Association. The accidents killed nearly 100 people and left more than 1,100 injured, the group said.

Nationally, Texas – with more railroads than any other state and more miles of track – ranks No. 1 for train-vehicle collisions and deaths at rail crossings, the group said.

There were 12,271 rail accidents in Texas from 1998 to 2007 – the most recent figures available – leading to 853 deaths and 7,203 injuries, according to the association made up of public officials and others interested in improving transportation.

Bruce Todd, the group’s executive director, said Texas needs to invest in the system to reroute freight tracks away from urban areas and fix dangerous rail crossings.

“Far too many Texans are being killed and injured along our state’s rail lines,” he said.

Here’s a look at the 12 most dangerous Texas counties, according to the group:

1. Harris, 1,376 rail accidents, 90 deaths and 1,145 injuries.
2. Tarrant, 799 accidents, 39 deaths, 710 injuries.
3. Bexar, 493 accidents, 51 deaths, 519 injuries.
4. Dallas, 356 accidents, 38 deaths, 225 injuries.
5. Webb , 331 accidents, 17 deaths, 282 injuries.
6. El Paso, 282 accidents, 34 deaths, 231 injuries.
7. Jefferson, 222 accidents, eight deaths, 154 injuries.
8. Cameron, 144 accidents, seven deaths, 124 injuries.
9. Brazoria, 143 accidents, eight deaths, 112 injuries.
10. Potter, 123 accidents, nine deaths, 111 injuries.
11. Fort Bend, 121 accidents, 15 deaths, 77 injuries.
12. Bell, 116 accidents, 16 deaths, 97 injuries.

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