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Rail Agency Has Long Pursued Safety Issues

November 25, 2003

"Derailing Illusions That Kill" (Nov. 20) overlooks the fact that, historically, the Federal Railroad Administration has contributed significantly to worldwide understanding of driver behavior at grade crossings. We have actively integrated knowledge of and research about visual acuity issues into our efforts.

A balanced treatment of this subject might have pointed out that highway-rail grade crossing safety is an issue over which states exercise primary decision-making authority. It is also worth noting that for many years, the FRA, together with other federal agencies, has actively implemented a comprehensive action plan to improve crossing safety. There has been considerable progress in reducing both the frequency and severity of highway-rail grade crossing collisions. We believe our steadfast emphasis on education, engineering and enforcement has yielded demonstrable results. Your story offers readers the opposite perception.

Allan Rutter

Administrator, Federal

Railroad Administration

Washington

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