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Despite Amtrak tragedy, rail travel remains safer than driving, says UB researcher

Dietrich Jehle, MD, UB professor of emergency medicine, also is an attending physician in the Emergency Department at Erie County Medical Center.

Release Date: May 15, 2015

“Trains are approximately 50 times safer per passenger mile traveled than cars.”
Dietrich Jehle, MD, Professor
UB Department of Emergency Medicine

BUFFALO, N.Y. —Tuesday’s Amtrak derailment, which resulted in at least eight deaths and many injuries, is a tragic event, said Dietrich Jehle, MD, professor of emergency medicine at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

“However, while our immediate reaction is to suddenly think that trains are dangerous, it’s important to remember that train travel remains statistically much safer than driving,” he said. “Trains are approximately 50 times safer per passenger mile traveled than cars.”

That information came from a 2013 study Jehle cited, published in the journal, Research in Transportation Economics. The study found that for trains, there are 0.15 deaths per billion passenger miles as compared to 212 for motorcycles, 7.3 for standard vehicles, including passenger cars, 0.11 for buses and 0.07 for commercial airlines.

Jehle, who also is an attending physician in the Emergency Department at Erie County Medical Center, has long studied the variables that contribute to injuries sustained in car accidents.

 

Media Contact Information

Ellen Goldbaum
News Content Manager
Medicine
Tel: 716-645-4605
goldbaum@buffalo.edu
Twitter: @UBmednews