Government Relaxes Train Safety Rules for California and the Nation
Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Cass Sustein explains that railroads with low safety risks should not be required to install the expensive systems. The change will affect 10,000 miles of track.
The railroad industry is pleased with the change. The narrower scope of the regulation will save railroads over $300 million in the next five years and as much as $775 million over 20 years, according to the White House. The railroad industry criticized the original rule when it was enacted, claiming that the time frame for installation was too brief and the cost of installation too expensive.
How the Change May Affect the Public
While these changes may be good for business, they may not be great for the public. Many of the railroads that will be exempted from this safety measure still traverse many public and private lands, including roadways used by the public. Rolling back these safety requirements could jeopardize the safety of anyone using roads crossing railroad tracks.
Train safety is a concern for the nation’s safety agencies. Last year, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its Ten Most Wanted List, which lists the top safety concerns facing the nation today and asks legislators to improve safety. The lack of adequate safety management systems, like positive train control systems, is a top concern of the NTSB.