The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its 2014 Most Wanted List, the top 10 advocacy and awareness priorities for the agency for 2014, which for the first time includes improving operational safety in rail mass transit.
Millions of Americans rely on passenger rail, subways and light rail for their daily commute. The NTSB says that in the past year it has opened investigations into accidents involving Metropolitan Transportation Authority Metro-North Railroad, Chicago Transit Authority and Bay Area Rapid Transit. NTSB notes that there are still open safety recommendations to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
In numerous accident investigation reports on mass transit, the board has repeatedly identified the need for safety improvements, particularly with regard to safety culture and operational practices, in systems providing light, heavy and passenger rail.
“The traveling public relies on a safe and efficient transportation system. Yet, every year, we see more than 35,000 fatalities,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman. “That’s why we have the Most Wanted List, steps we can take today, so that more people make it home tonight.”
Accident investigations and safety studies conducted by the NTSB in all modes of transportation underscore the dangers of using portable electronic devices while operating a car, train, plane or marine vessel. In addition to banning the use of these devices while driving, education and company policies help to reinforce laws and regulations by explaining the dangers of distraction and what companies expect from their employees.
The NTSB says it has long been calling for Positive Train Control. Just since 2004, the NTSB has completed investigations of 25 train accidents that killed 65, injured more than 1,100 and caused millions of dollars in damage.