Amtrak trains vs pedestrians or motor vehicles; accidents/fatalities

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George Harris

Apr 6, 2006
finally! Back in Mississippi
A long time ago, I knew a man who committed suicide by lying down on the train tracks in front of an oncoming Amtrak, would have been the Surfliner, I think. A terrible and angry way to commit suicide; he was only 29 years old, was having marital troubles, and left behind two very young sons. I wonder how many of the "pedestrians" who are killed by trains are intentional. And of course, likely a lot of them are under the influence of something or wearing earbuds with music loud. But it's hard to imagine not hearing or feeling a train bearing down on you, either way.
Suicide by train used to be fairly common in Japan, and may still be, but I heard from someone who should know that the rate dropped significantly after the Japanese Railway started billing the family for the cost of the cleanup.

In the SF Bay area, jumping in front of the San Jose - SF commuter trains happens, but the area media has agreed to minimize reporting of such to avoid encouraging copycats.

There was a book written quite a few years ago by the Florida state Forensic Anthropologist titled Dead Men Do Tell Tales that had several comments on the subject of suicides. Interesting book. (Forensic Anthropology means dealing with human remains and related issues long after the initial event so that it is more like an anthropological analysis instead of a crime scene analysis.) Florida has a considerably higher than most of the country rate of suicides, many of them elderly retirees from other parts of the country that decide to end it. He discussed the issues at some length. He also commented that he considered suicide to be among the most selfish of acts because of its effect on all around them, with things such as jumping in front of trains being among them.