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Speeches

Forum: Trains and Trespassing: Ending Tragic Encounters - Closing Statement
Robert L. Sumwalt
NTSB Conference Center, Washington, DC
3/25/2015

​Thank you once again, Mr. Narvell, for leading the NTSB staff in creating such an excellent program over the past two days.

In closing, I also would like to thank all of our panelists for sharing their knowledge about railroad trespassing from a broad range of perspectives, and our opening session speakers for sharing their knowledge of the human toll of trespassing accidents.

There is truly no single stereotype we can point to as a “trespasser profile.” The good news is that from the personal standpoint there is a 100% effective way to protect yourself: Just don’t trespass. Don’t let your kids do it. Don’t let your neighbors’ kids do it.

If the averages hold true, while we have been discussing this problem, four more people have been struck by trains. Two of them have died.

From the railroad safety standpoint, it’s incumbent on each of us to decide whether this forum has been a check-the-box exercise, or whether we can build on the perspectives aired here to move toward a breakthrough.

Railroads, regulators, advocacy groups, and above all communities and their leaders, owe it to themselves to pursue fresh approaches. I hope that the conversation continues when we leave this forum today.

Otherwise we’re accepting daily deaths from rail trespassing accidents. None who have lost loved ones in such accidents, or who live with the pain of having been involved in such accidents, can accept them as the norm.

Neither should any of us here today.

We stand adjourned.

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