Fact Check: US Has Had More Than 1,000 Train Derailments Per Year On Average For Decades

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: US Has Had More Than 1,000 Train Derailments Per Year On Average For Decades Not Unusual

Does more than one train derailment a day manifest a dramatic increase compared to the existing national statistics about train accidents? No, that's not true: A video implying that three derailments within a week and a half don't match the ordinary pattern contradicts historic data that has been recorded since the 1970s.

The claim originated from a post on Facebook on February 13, 2023. Its caption said:

Is America Under Attack - From Skies To Trains, The Details Are Terrifying

The speaker featured in the attached video continued:

I would say another day another train derailment, but that's not true. Another day, two more train derailments, one in Texas one in the Carolinas, and one carrying hazardous material

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2023-02-14 at 10.41.28 AM.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Feb 14 15:37:53 2023 UTC)

Other posts on social media referred to different periods of time (for example, two days or one week) but expressed the same notion that the number of train accidents had rapidly increased suddenly.

However, government statistics show it is not unusual for the U.S. to see more than one train crash per day.

As the Bureau of Transportation Statistics specifies, thousands of reported train accidents have taken place each year since the 1970s:

Screen Shot 2023-02-14 at 10.48.30 AM.png

(Source: bts.gov screenshot taken on Feb 14 15:48:30 2023 UTC)

Screen Shot 2023-02-14 at 11.10.57 AM.png

(Source: bts.gov screenshot taken on Feb 14 16:10:57 2023 UTC)

Screen Shot 2023-02-14 at 11.11.19 AM.png

(Source: bts.gov screenshot taken on Feb 14 16:11:19 2023 UTC)

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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