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AAR: House should bag bill proposing to ban remote-controlled haz-mat moves


A recently introduced House bill proposing to ban the transportation of hazardous materials via remote-controlled locomotives is “unwarranted,” said Association of American Railroads President and Chief Executive Officer Edward Hamberger in a prepared statement.

When introducing the bill (H.R. 2843), Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) said a recent Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) study “raised serious concerns with remote-control safety.” However, the study cited analyzed six train accidents and didn’t compare yard operations using remote control with conventional switching operations, said Hamberger, adding that overall FRA statistical data shows remote-control technology improves safety.

In a May 2004 report, the FRA determined yards using remote controls had lower employee injury and train accident rates — 57.1 percent and 13.7 percent, respectively — compared with conventional switching operations.

“If you look at the numbers … there is no question that remote-control technology makes railroads safer,” said Hamberger. “Railroads are required by federal law to transport hazardous materials, and we need the ability to use technology to transport it as safely as possible.”

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More News from 6/16/2005