But here's the real problem: Washington is perhaps even more bone-headed about all other forms of transportation than it is about Amtrak. By any reasonable assessment, passenger rail remains one of the nation's safest forms of transportation. In a typical year, there are between three and six rail passengers killed in the U.S., according to the Federal Railroad Administration. It's far more likely that a person will die because they steered their car into a train (247 deaths at railroad crossings last year) than in a train derailment. Even with the Philadelphia crash, it's possible that the bigger worry is that shutting down Amtrak service between Philadelphia and New York will cause more people to drive, which is far more dangerous than any form of rail service (33,561 motor vehicle fatalities in 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). When measured against the total vehicle miles traveled, a person is at least 14 times more likely to die in a car, motorcycle or truck wreck than on board a long-haul train.