NTSB blasts FRA for delaying railroad safety rule
The release off a final report on a fatal 2017 Amtrak train derailment gave the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) an opportunity to voice its frustration over repeated delays of a final rule that was published in 2016.
Implementation of Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 270, “System Safety Program,” has been stayed six times and is currently deferred to September 4, 2019.
“Yet despite evidence in the report further demonstrating the need for the timely implementation of this safety recommendation, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking June 12, 2019, seeking to further delay regulations requiring commuter and intercity passenger railroads to develop and implement a system safety program to improve the safety of their operations,” according to the NTSB.
Board Member Jennifer Homendy was sharply critical of the FRA’s action.
“The absence of a sense of urgency to implement this safety recommendation and the willingness to continue to jeopardize the safety of train crews and their passengers is unacceptable,” said Homendy. “The railroads should not wait one more day on the FRA to implement a final rule. It is the responsibility of each railroad to take swift action to ensure system safety.”
Among the safety recommendations that accompanied the final report on the Amtrak derailment in DuPont, Washington on Dec. 18 was that the FRA enact the System Safety Program “without further delay.” This recommendation was in the “reiterated” category, meaning, the NTSB had made it previously.
Those wishing to comment on the FRA’s notice of proposed rulemaking may do so via the Federal Rulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.govfor Docket No. FRA-2011-0060. for Docket No. FRA-2011-0060.
The NTSB’s final report for the Amtrak 501, DuPont, Washington, derailment is available online at https://go.usa.gov/xyCxg.