January 26, 2010
NTSB Number: RAR-12-04
NTIS Number: PB2012-916304
Adopted May 17, 2012
On January 26, 2010, about 1:40 a.m., a hi-rail vehicle-a truck or automobile that can be operated on either highway or rail-operating southbound about 0.9 miles north of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Rockville metro station struck and fatally injured two automatic train control technicians who were working on the right-of-way replacing an impedance bond between the tracks. The hi-rail vehicle was traveling down the track in the reverse gear at about 13 mph.
The safety issues discussed in this report are the following:
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was inadequate safeguards by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to protect roadway workers from approaching hi-rail vehicles, and to ensure hi-rail operators were aware of any wayside work being performed.
Contributing to the accident was the inadequate communication of vital information concerning ongoing work by the Operations Control Center; the lack of an appropriate and effective lookout by the hi-rail vehicle operator and crew to carefully observe the track on approach; and the ineffective lookout for trains and/or hi-rail vehicles on the part of the automatic train control technicians.
Safety recommendations are being issued to the Federal Transit Administration and the American Public Transportation Association.
As a result of this investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board makes the following five safety recommendations: four recommendations to the Federal Transit Administration and one recommendation to the American Public Transportation Association.
To the Federal Transit Administration:
Notify all rail transit agencies regarding the circumstances of the January 26, 2010, accident near Rockville metro station and urge them to evaluate their roadway worker protection programs and procedures to ensure that they adequately and effectively address appropriate training, communication, maintenance-vehicle movement authorities, flagging procedures, rules compliance, and the sharing of a work area by multiple work crews. (R-12-32)
Advise all state safety oversight agencies of the circumstances of the January 26, 2010, accident near Rockville metro station and urge them to audit the roadway worker protection programs and the procedures of all rail transit operations in their states to ensure that they adequately and effectively address appropriate training, communication, maintenance-vehicle movement authorities, flagging procedures, rules compliance, and the sharing of a work area by multiple work crews. (R-12-33)
Issue guidelines to advise transit agencies and state oversight agencies on how to effectively implement, oversee, and audit the requirements of 49 Code of Federal Regulations Section 659.19(r) using industry best practices, voluntary standards, and appropriate elements from 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 214, Subpart C-Roadway Worker Protection. (R-12-34)
Emphasize the effective implementation and oversight of 49 Code of Federal Regulations Section 659.19(r) as part of your safety oversight program audits. (R-12-35)
To the American Public Transportation Association:
Establish guidelines and standards to require that all existing and new hi-rail vehicles be equipped with an automatic change-of-direction or backup alarm that provides an audible signal that is at least 3 seconds long and is distinguishable from the surrounding noise. (R-12-36)