April 12, 2019 | Susan Napier-Sewell

In the News: NTSB Says “Stop Extending Deadline for Train Safety System”

Railroad accident investigators say there should be no more extensions for railroad operators to install new train safety technology. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Positive Train Control Systems (PTC) could have saved 303 lives and prevented 6,800 injuries over the last 50 years. Congress passed a law in 2008 requiring operators to install the radio- and satellite-based technology by the end of the year 2015. The rail industry has repeatedly requested and received waivers for that deadline due to the expense and complications with technology. Only four of 41 rail systems made that December 31, 2015, deadline.

NTSB member Jennifer Homendy told CNN that, “There should be no more extensions on PTC” following the board naming PTC one of its ten most-wanted reforms to improve transportation safety, along with reforms such as eliminating drunk and distracted driving.

PTC prevents crashes and derailments by warning engineers and automatically applying the brakes to slow or stop trains that are too close to other trains or are traveling too fast.

And, the head of the NTSB says lifesaving information may have been lost in the recent government shutdown. Investigators are only now looking into 97 transportation incidents that occurred during the shutdown. In many cases, wreckage has already been moved or altered, impacting the ability to learn potentially critical safety lessons.

To learn more about this NTSB “most-wanted reform to improve transportation safety,” read: NTSB: Stop extending deadline for train safety system

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