10.09.16

SCHUMER URGES INSTALLATION OF INWARD FACING CAMERAS ON NJT TRAINS; SENATOR LED SUCCESSFUL CHARGE TO INSTALL INWARD CAMS ON METRO NORTH & AMTRAK; SAYS INWARD CAMS NEEDED ON ALL METRO-AREA TRAINS; ALSO TELLS NJT ‘CULTURE OF SAFETY’ MUST BE TOP PRIORITY WHEN PRECIOUS LIVES ON BOARD

NJT Crash Proves Need For Wide Installation Of Inward Facing Cams Across Public Transit; Missing Safety Measure Could Make The Difference In Knowing What Is Going On & Fixing It

Schumer Championed Effort That Increased Fed Inspections & Imposed New Safety Requirements On Metro-North, LIRR & Amtrak —But Much More Should Be Done To Correct FRA Violations; Sleep Apnea & Worker Training Must Also Be Addressed;

FRA & NTSB In Support of Schumer’s Call for Inward Cameras 

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer called for installing inward facing cameras on all railroad systems within the New York metro-area, including along New Jersey Transit lines. Schumer has long been an outspoken advocate for rail safety and life-saving rail technology onboard New York’s railroad systems, including on Metro-North, Long Island Rail Road, and a number of Amtrak lines, which currently have inward facing cameras installed in all cabs.

“When it comes to preventing accidents and determining what might have gone wrong if they occur, cameras are key,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “Inward facing cameras may help us detect dangerous patterns amongst engineers ahead of time, and also help investigators determine the cause of an accident that might occur. Given the FRA’s repeated warnings, and this terrible crash, it seems clearer and clearer that a culture of safety was lacking in NJT. A culture of safety should always be a top priority to make sure our trains don’t go off the rails.”

Despite being the nation’s third busiest commuter railroad, New Jersey Transit trains are missing this important safety feature. Schumer said that the recent crash in Hoboken, involving the NJT Pascack Valley Line train number 1614, highlights the need for a widespread installation of inward facing cameras across public transit systems. Schumer said that by installing inward facing cameras, we can better identify damaged infrastructure and dangerous behavior onboard our commuter trains before it leads to another disaster.

On September 29th, a New Jersey Transit train crashed into Hoboken terminal killing one woman and injuring over one-hundred commuters. The NTSB is still investigating the cause of the accident.

Following a train collision in California resulting in 25 fatalities, the NTSB issued a list of recommendations for the FRA. According to the recommendation report, the NTSB concluded that a “performance monitoring program that includes in-cab audio and video recordings would serve as a significant deterrent…” The NTSB recommended the FRA “require the installation, in all controlling locomotive cabs and cab car operating compartments, of crash-and fire-protected inward and outward facing audio and image recorders capable of providing recordings to verify that train crew actions are in accordance with rules and procedures that are essential to safety as well as train operating conditions.” Since the 2008 collision, the FRA has not yet moved forward with a nation-wide plan of implementing the NTSB’s recommendations. 

In 2014, after continued efforts by Schumer, the MTA began moving forward on a plan to install inward and outward facing video and audio recorders on trains, following a recommendation by the NTSB as a result of its investigation into a fatal derailment at Spuyten Duyvil on December 1st, 2013. Schumer also has a history of pushing Amtrak to also install inward facing cameras, which they announced in 2015. Inward facing cameras are now installed in all Northeast corridor locomotives.  

In July 2015, following an Amtrak derailment that May, the NTSB released another set of recommendations aimed at preventing future rail accidents, including a “recommendation to require the installation of inward-facing video recorders in all controlling locomotive cabs and cab car operating compartments.” In its safety recommendation, the NTSB noted that inward-facing cameras could help railroad management prevent accidents by identifying safety issues and help improve the quality of accident investigations. According to the NTSB, two recent investigations were aided by inward-facing cameras: a 2013 Bay Area Rapid Transit train accident and a 2015 Metrolink locomotive accident in California.

Schumer today said that all railroads should be required to install inward facing cameras, which will help deter bad behavior and overall, improve safety. Schumer has long urged Congress to completely overhaul rail safety laws and protocols to enhance safety on rail lines. Schumer is the author of the Rail Safety Improvement Act, which mandates inward and outward facing cameras, increased track inspection, require greater use of modern inspection technology and stepped up enforcement of speed restrictions, and fines up to $1 million for safety violations on all railroads, including Amtrak and LIRR. Schumer was also a supporter of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, signed into law in December 2015, which requires that the FRA promulgate regulations within two years that would require all passenger railroads to install inward and outward facing cameras.

Schumer also highlighted the need for a number of other changes that can improve safety including ‎mandated sleep apnea testing, faster roll-out of Positive Train Control, and improved long-term investments in critical infrastructure. All of these issues are things Schumer has pressed for action on previously, and continued delays by the rail industry and regulators in addressing them make the likelihood of future accidents far greater.

According to the NTSB, the following table lists rail accidents (as of July 2015) in which the NTSB recommended the use of audio and/or image recorders in the cab. According to the NTSB, in almost all cases, the NTSB’s investigations were hampered by the lack of audio and/or image data.

 LOCATION

DATE

FATALITIES

INJURIES

DAMAGES/COSTS ($)

Silver Spring, MD

16-Feb-96

11

26

7.5 million

Bryan, Ohio

17-Jan-99

2

0

5.3 million

Gunter,  Texas

19-May-04

1

4

2.1 million

Macdona, Texas

28-Jun-04

3

32

5.85 million

Anding, MS

10-Jul-05

4

0

10.1 million

Texarkana, Arkansas

15-Oct-05

1

0

2.3 million

Chatsworth, California

12-Sep-08

25

102

12 million

Two Harbors, Minnesota

30-Sep-10

0

5

8.1 million

Red Oak, Iowa

17-Apr-11

2

0

8.7 million

Goodwell, Oklahoma

24-Jun-12

3

0

14.8 million

Chaffee, Missouri

25-May-13

0

2

11 million

Bronx, NY

1-Dec-13

4

59

9 million

TOTAL

56

230

96.75 million



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