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Federal government announces transit safety plan

The Federal Transit Administration found that recent mass transit accidents, particularly those investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board, have uncovered deficiencies in the safety performance of critical systems, equipment, procedures, management systems and oversight. While the performance of this industry remains strong, however, new rules are required to address these deficiencies and the growing use of public transportation. The FTA is accepting public comment on these propsed regulations until Oct. 13, 2015.

The proposed regulation, if enacted, would implement the FTA’s authority to perform inspections, audits and examinations. It would also provide for the agency’s testing of equipment, rolling stock and the operation of public transit systems. The FTA would have authorization to take enforcement actions that would include directing the use and withholding of Federal funding and the issuance of directories and advisories.

The proposed regulation would establish Safety Management Systems, comprised of labor and employers, as an important component of the FTA’s safety program. This program will focus on safety policy and accountability for organizations, proactive hazard identification and risk-based decision-making.

This proposed rule also addresses the contents of a National Public Transportation Safety Plan which the FTA will publish for public review and comment within the next several months. The National Plan will contain safety performance standards for all types of public transportation, minimum safety performance standards for transit vehicles used in revenue operations, criteria addressing good repair and a Safety Certification Training Program.

This latest proposed regulation falls within the FTA’s new safety oversight powers contained in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. It follows other proposals that were announced and which would increase oversight responsibilities of State Safety Oversight agencies and the publication of a final interim safety certification training program.

These actions indicate that mass transit accidents continue to place New York commuters and riders at risk. Victims of these accidents may be entitled to compensation through personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits. Prompt legal assistance should be sought so the right to compensation may be pursued through the courts or in settlement negotiations.

Source: Federal Transit Administration, “Federal Transit Administration announces proposed rule to establish new safety program for transit industry,” Retrieved Sept. 14, 2015