Trespassing on railroad property is the leading cause of all rail-related deaths in the United States. In fact, more fatalities and injuries occur from trespassing on railroad property than from motor vehicle collisions with trains at highway-rail grade crossings. Between 2012 and 2017 alone, total annual trespass-related pedestrian fatalities increased by a staggering 18% nationwide, from 725 deaths in 2012 to 855 in 2017. Experts also found that trespass accidents between 2012 and 2016 cost society approximately $43 billion, in the form of passenger and goods movements delays.
Unfortunately, San Diego County was identified as one of the top ten locations for railroad trespasser casualties from November 2013 to October 2017 per the results of the Federal Railroad Administration’s analysis.
NCTD is currently working closely with public agencies, elected officials, and the community toconsider and implement strategies outlined in the report as a key to reduce the risk and occurrence of trespasser incidents along its rail lines.
As part of NCTD’s enforcement efforts, San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputies conduct focused trespasser mitigation enforcement along NCTD’s railroad right-of-way. Citations include fines that could range from $50 to $400, plus court costs.
Understanding the Danger
From June 2016 to June 2021, there were more than 64 fatalities, 86 accidents, and 315 near-miss events attributable to pedestrian trespassing along the rail lines that run from Oceanside to San Diego. It is a common misconception that the incidents that occur on the tracks are mostly due to suicide attempts. While this may be the case in some incidents, there is a very high percentage of accidents and fatalities that are not. See below for a few of the actual stories from these unfortunate trespassing incidents.
Trespasser Hot Spots: Oceanside, Encinitas, Del Mar
Oceanside – Trespassing within the City of Oceanside constitutes approximately 23% of fatalities, 19% of accidents, and 10% of near misses.
Encinitas –Trespassing within the City of Encinitas constitutes approximately 25% of fatalities, 22% of accidents, and 13% of near misses.
Del Mar –Trespassing within the City of Del Mar constitutes approximately 9% of fatalities, 10% of accidents, and 18% of near misses.
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