"We should take every precaution to prevent rail accidents from happening," Rep. DeLauro said. "That is our duty. The Rail Safety Enforcement Act is comprehensive, common-sense legislation that will improve rail safety all across the nation. Our first responsibility for our train systems has to be ensuring the public safety."
The legislation follows a series of fatal passenger rail accidents.
The Rail Safety Enforcement Act has five main provisions:
• Requires that every rail carrier control cab have an "alerter," an automatic failsafe device that sounds an alarm when a train engineer seems idle while the train is in motion.
• Requires every rail carrier to develop a fatigue risk plan within 60 days and submit it to the secretary of transportation
• Requires every carrier to report on their progress in implementing the Positive Train Control System within 180 days of enactment.
• Requires the secretary of transportation to issue regulations mandating "shunting," or redundant signal protection for workers on the track.
• Mandates that railroad employees are provided with predictable and defined work and rest schedules.
"Safe, reliable rail service is critical to our economy," Rep. Esty said. "As a member of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure's Subcommittee on Railroads, I've urged Congress to strengthen our rail safety standards and procedures to ensure, above all, that commuters are safe. These commonsense modifications that we're proposing today need to be part of the solution."