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Senate committee approves amendments aimed at preventing rail accidents


On July 17, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation unanimously approved two amendments addressing runaway trains and grade crossing traffic delays.

Introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the amendments are designed to prevent railroad accidents.

The first amendment would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to draft regulations ensuring that local police and fire officials are immediately notified about runaway trains in their community.

"Last month, a terrible accident involving a runaway train crashing into a neighborhood in Commerce, Calif., alerted me to the need for this legislation," said Boxer in a prepared statement. "We were fortunate that no one was killed as a result of that accident, and even more so because first responders were never notified of the runaway train."

The second amendment would require U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta — in consultation with state and local government officials — to conduct a study of blocked highway/rail crossings impact on emergency responders ability to perform their public safety and security duties. Mineta would report findings and recommendations to the commerce committee.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/18/2003