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House transportation committee approves bill to support families of passenger rail accident victims

On Feb. 27, the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved a bill that would require the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to provide support to families of passenger-rail accident victims.

H.R. 876 would require NTSB to designate a director of family support services within the agency and an independent third party outside the government to help address families’ needs. The requirements apply to accidents involving intercity or interstate passenger roads, and interstate or intrastate high-speed rail carriers. Transit, commuter and excursion train services would not be affected.

The legislation also would prohibit lawyers from making unsolicited communications to families or individuals injured in an accident until 45 days afterwards. Passenger railroads would be required to submit plans to NTSB and the U.S. secretary of transportation outlining how their agency plans to address the needs of victims’ families.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/28/2003