Federal Study Tries to Derail Train Suicides
Railroad Administration looks into ways to block tracks
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2010 12:51 PM CST
Restricting a suicidal person's access to train tracks could cause them to reconsider the act.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – The Federal Railroad Administration is out to challenge the notion that suicide-by-train is an unfortunate but unavoidable phenomenon. The agency is four years into a study that will look into whether improved fences or other barriers could deter potential suicides, the Boston Globe reports. “When you reduce access to a highly lethal method, overall, suicide rates go down,” explains one suicide expert.

The study marks the first time these rarely-discussed deaths have been documented; so far, they’ve tallied 300-500 deaths each year. They’re also conducting 60 “psychological autopsies” on the victims, looking into their lives and motivations. The group conducting the study, the American Association of Suicidology, admits that erecting barriers all over the country probably isn’t feasible, but it may suggest testing them in areas where they’re most likely to work.