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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Accident/Incident Definitions

A railroad is required by Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) regulations at Title 49, Part 225 of the Code of Federal Regulations to use the current FRA Guide for Preparing Accident/Incident Reports ("Guide" or "reporting guide") when preparing its monthly report. The instructions and interpretations contained in this publication are provided to assist railroads in meeting this obligation.

"Accident/Incident" is the term used to describe the entire list of reportable events. These include collisions, derailments, and other events involving the operation of on-track equipment and causing reportable damage above an established threshold; impacts between railroad on-track equipment and highway users at crossings; and all other incidents or exposures that cause a fatality or injury to any person, or an occupational illness to a railroad employee.

Accidents/incidents are divided into three major groups for reporting purposes. These correspond to the following FRA forms:

Train accidents. A safety-related event involving on-track rail equipment (both standing and moving), causing monetary damage to the rail equipment and track above a prescribed amount. Reported on form FRA F 6180.54, RAIL EQUIPMENT ACCIDENT/INCIDENT REPORT. (The threshold for 2008 is $8,500)
Highway-rail grade crossing incidents. Any impact between a rail and highway user (both motor vehicles and other users of the crossing as a designated crossing site, including walkways, sidewalks, etc., associated with the crossing. Reported on form FRA F 6180.57, HIGHWAY-RAIL GRADE CROSSING ACCIDENT/INCIDENT REPORT.
Other incidents. any death, injury, or occupational illness of a railroad employee that is not the result of a "train accident' or "highway-rail incident." Reported on form FRA F 6180.55a, RAILROAD INJURY AND ILLNESS SUMMARY.