North County Transit District joins Confidential Close Call Reporting System

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
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The North County Transit District (NCTD), which serves North San Diego County in California, reports it is participating in the Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS), a program designed to allow employees and contractors, to report “close calls” when a safety violation occurs.  According to the NCTD, “A close call is any condition or event that may have the potential for more serious safety consequences such as a blue flag not removed after releasing railway construction equipment or failing to provide proper track protection during track maintenance.”  Workers who report close calls do so on a voluntary and confidential basis.

Other participants in the close call reporting system include the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Bombardier Transportation USA, Inc., and the International Association of Sheet Metal Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART).

The program originated with NASA in 1976 with its Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), which has generated over 1.2 million reports that have contributed significantly to the safey of our aviation system. NASA’s independence from regulation and enforcement actions, along with its being highly respected for research, makes it an ideal organization to receive reports of rail safety violations.

One of the most critical reasons for the success of the ASRS, which will flow to the (C3RS) program, is that all reports are confidential.  NCTD’s Chief Operations Officer – Rail, Eric Roe, says that “Because of NASA’s strict confidentiality policy for these reports, it’s more likely that we’ll get details about the incident.  Those details can lead to new safety measures that make the tracks safer for everyone on and around the rails.”

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