The Association of American Railroads (AAR) is making a strong plea to the Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to adopt the use of innovative technology that has been proven to reduce the number of train accidents by one-third. Red tape and administrative bureaucracy are being blamed for preventing this life-saving technology from being fully implemented.
According to a spokesperson from AAR, the Department of Transportation has done a very good job of adopting and implementing the use of automated systems to improve the safety of the commercial trucking and automobile manufacturing industries. The results have been positive, showing a significant decrease in the number of serious and fatal accidents. The AAR has identified human error as being the cause of one-third of all train accidents. Implementing automation can significantly reduce the risks associated with human error.
The automated technology that is being promoted by the AAR includes automatic track inspections, wayside detectors used to identify track and equipment defects that are not visible by eyesight, and communication-based train control. This technology that has been implemented on some railroads has yielded positive results. A 44 percent reduction in the amount of train accidents and a 38 percent reduction in the number of accidents caused by equipment failure led to the lowest number of accidents on record in 2016.
Lobbyists for the implementation of automated safety in the railroad industry will have a captivated audience at this year’s SafeRail Symposium that will take place in Washington, D.C. in mid-June. Railroad companies expected to be in attendance include the Canadian National Railway, MTA Long Island Rail Road, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, and the Maryland Transit Administration.
With a global emphasis on railroad safety, several European rail companies are piloting automated systems with enormous success. The Alstom rail company is working with the Dutch government on implementation of fully automated trains that operate without any human interaction. In October of last year, a mining train traveled 62 miles relying solely on automated sensors, 3D maps, and real-time data communication. The company was so impressed with the success of the operation that they now operate more than half of their trains autonomously, with plans to be at 100 percent capacity by the end of 2018.
Proponents for the automated train systems claim that the technology gives train conductors more freedom to monitor safe operation of the train and its systems. With research showing that one-third of all train accidents are caused by human error, reducing the number of tasks required of a conductor reduces the risk for human error.
A train accident is never a minor event. Serious and fatal injuries often happen when a train derailment or collision occurs. The New Jersey train accident lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP are dedicated to helping those injured in a train accident claim the compensation they deserve. Call us at 732-777-0100 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River, New Jersey, and we serve clients throughout the state.