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90 Hazardous Materials Transportation Incident Data for Root Cause Analysis injuries occurred in 47 of the 60 incidents. Because the 60 cases were not chosen at random, no significance can be made regarding this finding. For the 14 private grade-crossing incidents in the database, there were 7 incidents in which there was an injury or fatality and in only 1 of those incidents was there limited visibility at the crossing. At the 46 public grade crossings in the data- base, there were 30 incidents where limited visibility was present and of those, 28 incidents resulted in one or more injuries or fatalities. The situation is similar with the 16 cases in which limited visibility was not an issue. In 12 of the 16, there was one or more injury or fatality. One can conclude from these data that while more than one-half of the passive grade-crossing acci- dents occurred at crossings with limited visibility, whether or not there is an injury or fatality is not a function of limited visibility. Rather, a large fraction of grade-crossing accidents result in one or more injury or fatality to the occupants of motor vehicles; this is just associated with the seriousness of the incident when it does occur. The NTSB study clearly demonstrates the importance of site visits and driver and witness interviews if probable and contributing causes are to be identified. Witness statements appear to have the greatest value. Otherwise, it would be difficult to obtain data, such as whether the driver was talking to an occupant and never looked, or the driver was talking on a cell phone. It is clear that the NTSB conclusions were based on these interviews. Even in the seven cases where it could not be determined if the findings were based on witness statements, it is likely that the witness statements either influenced the determination of probable cause or validated the conclusion by providing supporting information. Two cases reported that an event data recorder was read to verify that the train engineer sounded the horn on approach of the crossing. Such collaborating evidence is also useful when attempting to identify probable and contributing causes. In the FRA train accident database, there are no fields specifically designated for probable and contributing causes. There are narrative fields that could be used for statements provided by the railroad crew, motor vehicle occupants, and/or witnesses. The railroad train crew could be a valu- able source of information. They could document contact information for witnesses and fill out a form describing the conditions at the crossing at the time of the accident. For example, they could note if the view of the train was blocked by overgrown vegetation, a recently constructed building, or something temporary (e.g., a pile of rocks or train equipment). This would enable the railroad officials to more accurately complete the FRA form. The railroad official could also obtain state- ments from the train crew and witnesses, placing their statements in the narrative fields of the cur- rent reporting form. The person filling out the FRA accident report would also have access to the readings from the train's event recorder at the time of the accident. A query of the FRA railroad crossing accident database for the period beginning in November 1995 and ending in September 1996 revealed that the narrative fields were left blank in all cases--nearly 4,000 records. The other alternative is to add fields where the person filling out the grade-crossing accident report can specif- ically list causes. This means that if the same person fills out both forms, he or she is already trained in determining accident causation. 4.8.6 Summary The following potential measures apply to capturing root causes routinely in grade-crossing accidents: 1. Require the information that was captured by the NTSB investigator to be incorporated in the FRA grade-crossing accident form. While the railroad can be left to determine how this recommendation is to be implemented, it can probably be accomplished by either a site visit or by the train crew documenting the conditions at the accident scene and obtaining contact information for witnesses, including law enforcement personnel. It would be possible for the