Bill Introduced to Improve Railroad Safety

August 6, 2007

A bill was recently introduced in hopes to improve the safety of the railroads throughout the United States.

This bipartisan bill caters to the safety and needs of the train’s employees, passengers and those who live close to railroad tracks or drive across them frequently.

Need to Improve Safety Laws From the Past

According to reports, 841 people died in railroad accidents last year alone.

Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, who introduced the bill, believes that many of the deaths and injuries that are occurring on railroads are due to the outdated safety laws.

The federal rail safety programs have allegedly not been altered since 1994 and Lautenberg believes there are three main safety concerns to blame for all the accidents.

Overworked Employees

Lautenberg says that railroad worker fatigue under the “hours of service” law is a main contributor to railway accidents.

Under this law, train crews are able to work up to 400 hours in 30 days.

Lautenberg is hoping to alter these specifications through the new bill.

Positive Train Control

He also proposed new safety technology, or “Positive Train Control” (PTC).

PTC will reduce the amount of train crashes by automatically braking the train if the conductor fails to apply the brakes before a stop signal.

Grade Crossing Safety

Research shows that 94 percent of railroad deaths occur at highway-rail-grade crossings.

The new bill would require all states to report their methods of safety at these crossings so the government is able to identify problem areas and reduce the risks of death and injury.

(Source: The Hub)

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