Railroads Slow to Add Safety Technology

Railroads have made little progress installing safety technologies designed to prevent deadly collisions and derailments despite a mandate from Congress, according to a government report released August 17, 2016.

The sought after technology, called Positive Train Control or PTC, uses digital radio communications, GPS and signals alongside tracks to monitor train positions.  PTC can automatically  control train speeds and prevent a railroad engine from entering a restricted track.

In 2008, Congress gave the railroads seven years to put the safety technology in place.  The deadline was extended three years in 2015 at the request of the railroad industry.  The 2018 deadline is looming with only  9% of the freight and 22% of the passenger train miles having PTC in current operation.

Railroads should not wait for the deadline to complete their work on PTC.  It risks adding another preventable accident to the a list that is already too long, said the head of the Federal Railroad Administration.

Read more: Congressional mandate ignored