Two of the country’s largest commuter rail operators recently enhanced the safety of their systems by implementing safety recommendations on the National Transportation Safety Board’s 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements.
The safety recommendations to Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Railroad were the result of the NTSB’s investigation into five accidents involving Metro-North trains in Connecticut and New York that killed six people, injured 126 more and resulted in more than $28 million in damages. All five accidents occurred in 2013 and 2014.
“The most important outcomes from NTSB investigations are the implementation of safety recommendations because they can prevent accidents and save lives,” said NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt. “Recommendations themselves don’t move the needle on safety, only their implementation does.”
Recommendations R-14-65 asked Long Island Railroad to screen and evaluate employees in safety-sensitive positions for sleep disorders and then treat all that are diagnosed.
Recommendations R-14-62 and R-14-64 asked Metro-North to revise medical protocols and provide its employees in safety-sensitive positions a list of medications that engineers and conductors must avoid.
Both railroads are part of New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority.
“MTA, Metro-North and Long Island Railroad all still have open NTSB safety recommendations that need to be acted on,” said Sumwalt. “These are steps in the right direction but there’s still more work to be done.”
These three safety recommendations, classified as “closed – acceptable action,” bring to 17 the number that have been implemented since the 2019-2020 Most Wanted List campaign was kicked off in February.
The NTSB’s Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements serves as the agency’s road map from lessons learned to lives saved, identifying safety recommendations that are ripe for action and that if implemented, have the potential to prevent accidents, minimize injuries and save lives.