Railroads are behind on installing new safety technology

In Texas and other states in the U.S., train crashes are a danger. In 2008, Congress passed a rail safety law that said railroads have seven years to install a technology called positive train control. PTC is a safety-enhancing technology that is able to prevent many kinds of crashes such as derailments caused by extreme speed. Dec. 31, 2015, is the deadline given in the original law. Railroads must have their safety plans certified by the government before PTC can be put into operation.


Most railroads are putting a kind of PTC in place that uses wireless radio, GPS and computers to keep track of train position. PTC will be able to slow or stop trains that are entering a place with work crews in danger of being struck, which will help to ensure safety in the workplace. It will keep trains from derailing due to moving too fast or colliding with another train. BNSF Railway, a freight railroad, and two commuter rails, the Metrolink and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, have submitted their safety plans. Amtrak says it will have its Northeast Corridor section ready by the deadline.


Union Pacific and Norfolk Southern have not equipped any of their trains with the safety technology. The railroad industry says developing a brand-new technology has never been done before. The railroads have been asking for an extension on the deadline, but what could have been a five- to seven-year extension has been shortened to three years.


In the event of a work accident, an attorney who deals with workers’ compensation may be able to help. An attorney could aid the injured worker in filing the paperwork for their claim and defend the person’s rights. They could also help the worker receive the workers’ compensation benefits they may be due, such as lost wages and medical bills. Source: Yahoo News, “Railroad safety: Few likely to meet deadline for technology,” Joan Lowy, August 7, 2015

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