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Lawmakers Discuss New Safety Standards for Urban Transit Systems

WUSA-TV Washington reports on its website, “After a horrific Metro Red Line tragedy in 2009 that killed nine people and injured 76, Maryland’s Congressional delegation led the way in pushing for reform, insisting on national safety standards.” Up “until now, there was not a single federal safety regulation for Metro trains or any other passenger train nationwide.” Peter Rogoff, Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, commented, “Since 1964, there has been a gaping loophole in transit safety oversight.” In addition, NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman commented, “The legislators have done what they needed to do-give the authority to establish these safety standards. It’s now up to Metro, the operators and the regulators to make sure that that promise is fulfilled.”

NEWS 8-TV Washington, DC reports, “For the first time, there are federal safety standards for subway systems like Metro.” Congress “has passed and the president signed off on the new federal transportation safety bill.” The NTSB “is recommending requirements like better evacuation and rescue routes, black box data recorders, and limits on the number of hours train operators can be on the job.”

The AP reports, “Lawmakers and transportation officials gathered Monday to discuss the new law, which mandates the establishment of federal safety standards for subway, bus, light rail and streetcar systems.” Deputy Transportation Secretary John Porcari said, “This will mean lives saved.” The NTSB is assisting in the development of safety standards, and “among other things, the NTSB will push for minimum crashworthiness standards for subway cars, a requirement that subways carry data recorders and limits on the number of hours that train conductors can work.” Rogoff said “the government would not take the step to withhold grant funding lightly because transit agencies need money to make systems safer.”

WAMU-FM, DC reports on its website, “The proposed standards, which will include guidelines for crashworthiness and improved evacuation measures in case of an emergency, will also include recommendations made by the NTSB.” Officials say “regulations could take up to a year to establish.”

The Gaithersburg (MD) Gazette reports, “Congressional and federal transportation officials staged a news conference Monday at Metro’s training center to tout the first-ever national safety standards for transit systems, even as Metro wrestles with ongoing safety concerns.” The conference had been “scheduled before the weekend’s software glitch, in which personnel lost track of two trains, and dozens of trains had to idle in stations.” The incident “follows the recent mishaps in which a subway car’s doors opened in route and a heat-related kink in the track caused a derailment.”

From the American Association for Justice news release.

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

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