Metro-North Railroad fails to keep Employees, Commuters safe, says NTSB

Metro-North Railroad fails to keep Employees, Commuters safe, says NTSB

In a press conference at New York's Grand Central Terminal, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) criticized both the Metro-North Railroad and the federal watchdog group Federal Railroad Administration.

In this context, the board released five reports that gave all the details of the five incidents that took place on the railroad in an 11-month span between May 2013 and March 2014. In this report, NTSB stated that it has identified several recurring safety issues.

These issues include inadequate and ineffective track inspection and maintenance, extensive deferred maintenance issues, inadequate safety oversight, deficiencies in passenger car crashworthiness, roadway worker protection procedures and organizational safety culture.

Christopher A. Hart, the NTSB's acting chairman, stated that seeing such pattern of safety issues in a single railroad is indeed very troubling. He added that the group discussed findings on the probable causes of the accidents. These causes included a derailment that left four commuters dead in the Bronx in December.

In December crash, an engineer had dozed off which caused his train take a sharp curve at over 80 miles per hour. The engineer in question here is William Rockefeller. He had subsequently received a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea which is a condition that can cause fatigue and drowsiness.

Speaking in this context, Mr. Hart said that the safety board had been calling for the past 12 years for the screening of train operators for sleep disorders and in all these years, this demand has been ignored by Metro-North's primary regulator, the Federal Railroad Administration.

He said, "Seeing this pattern of safety issues in a single railroad is troubling. The NTSB has made numerous recommendations to the railroad that could have prevented these accidents. But recommendations can only make a difference if the recipients of our recommendations act on them".

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