AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Safety measures installed at Central Texas railroad crossings over the years have significantly curtailed train-vehicle accidents like the one this month in Mississippi that killed four Texas tourists.

A review of Federal Railroad Administration records by the Austin American-Statesman ( ) found that collisions between trains and vehicles have fallen by nearly 60 percent since the 1980s.

The drop in Bastrop, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties came over the same period the region experienced explosive growth that included far more vehicles on the road.

As a result, fatalities also are down in those four counties, down to an average of fewer than one person a year. The numbers don't include deaths of people struck while walking along tracks.

New rules over the years have led to the installation of medians and gates at crossings.

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