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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-10-003
Details
Synopsis: On Monday, June 22, 2009, about 4:58 p.m., eastern daylight time, inbound Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metrorail train 112 struck the rear of stopped inbound Metrorail train 214. The accident occurred on aboveground track on the Metrorail Red Line near the Fort Totten station in Washington, D.C. The lead car of train 112 struck the rear car of train 214, causing the rear car of train 214 to telescope1 into the lead car of train 112, resulting in a loss of occupant survival space in the lead car of about 63 feet (about 84 percent of its total length). Nine people aboard train 112, including the train operator, were killed. Emergency response agencies reported transporting 52 people to local hospitals. Damage to train equipment was estimated to be $12 million.
Recommendation: TO THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: Continue to seek the authority to provide safety oversight of rail fixed guideway transportation systems, including the ability to promulgate and enforce safety regulations and minimum requirements governing operations, track and equipment, and signal and train control systems.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: Washington, D.C., DC, United States
Is Reiterated: Yes
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA09MR007
Accident Reports: Collision of Two Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Metrorail Trains Near Fort Totten Station
Report #: RAR-10-02
Accident Date: 6/22/2009
Issue Date: 8/10/2010
Date Closed: 12/26/2012
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: DOT (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: DOT
Date: 4/17/2015
Response: CC# 201500245: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has reviewed the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), Part 674—State Safety Oversight, published in the Federal Register on February 27, 2015. We appreciate this opportunity to comment on the proposed rulemaking. Insufficient safety oversight has repeatedly been identified as a contributing factor in rail transit accidents we have investigated over the past decade. In particular, the NTSB found that the FTA’s lack of statutory authority to provide federal safety oversight contributed to the June 22, 2009, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority accident in which 9 people died and 52 more were injured. As a result, the NTSB made the following recommendation to the US Department of Transportation (DOT): R-10-3 Continue to seek the authority to provide safety oversight of rail fixed guideway transportation systems, including the ability to promulgate and enforce safety regulations and minimum requirements governing operations, track and equipment, and signal and train control systems. On December 26, 2012, the NTSB acknowledged that MAP 21, signed into law on July 6, 2012, granted the FTA the authority to establish and enforce a new comprehensive framework to oversee the safety of heavy rail, light rail, buses, ferries, and streetcars throughout the United States. The recommendation was classified “Closed—Acceptable Action.” The NTSB supports this rulemaking and the subsequent enhancements to safety oversight of rail transit agencies. We also recognize and commend the collaborative effort within the industry through the Transit Advisory Committee for Safety to identify best practices in safety management and to work to strengthen safety oversight to prevent or reduce the risks of tragic events like the Fort Totten accident in Washington, DC.

From: NTSB
To: DOT
Date: 12/26/2012
Response: The NTSB understands that the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP 21), signed into law on July 3, 2012, grants the FTA the authority to establish and enforce a new comprehensive framework to oversee the safety of public transportation throughout the United States as it pertains to heavy rail, light rail, buses, ferries, and streetcars. Because MAP 21 satisfies the intent of Safety Recommendation R-10-3, this recommendation is classified CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: DOT
To: NTSB
Date: 3/21/2012
Response: -From Ray LaHood, Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation: In December 2009, President Barack Obama, through the Department, transmitted the first ever transit-specific legislation to Congress from any Administration. Appropriately, the legislation was about implementing an enforceable national rail transit safety initiative, which the FTA has been prohibited from doing since 1964. The Senate Banking Committee unanimously passed legislation that was supportive of the Administration's initiative. During the 112th Congress, the Administration will continue to advocate for Congress to provide FTA with the authority to establish and oversee national rail transit safety standards. In preparation for these responsibilities, FTA has established the Transit Rail Advisory Committee for Safety (TRACS), a Federal advisory committee providing information, advice, and recommendations on critical transit safety priorities to the Secretary of Transportation and the FTA Administrator.

From: NTSB
To: DOT
Date: 12/22/2011
Response: R-10-003 was reiterated in greensheet issuing Safety Recommendation R-11-1, published on 12/22/2011. This greensheet discusses the 11/28/2008 automated people mover accident at the Miami International Airport in Miami, Florida. The following text comes from the greensheet. Less than a year after the accident at Miami International Airport, the NTSB investigated a much more serious accident involving a collision of two Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Metrorail trains in Washington, DC. Based on the findings from that investigation, as well as from its investigations of previous rail transit accidents, the NTSB concluded that the structure of the FTA’s oversight process leads to inconsistent practices, inadequate standards, and marginal effectiveness with respect to the state safety oversight of rail transit systems in the United States. The NTSB, therefore, issued the following safety recommendation to the DOT: Continue to seek the authority to provide safety oversight of rail fixed guideway transportation systems, including the ability to promulgate and enforce safety regulations and minimum requirements governing operations, track and equipment, and signal and train control systems. (R-10-3) In an attempt to place renewed emphasis on this important safety issue, the NTSB is reiterating Safety Recommendation R-10-3 to the DOT. As noted earlier, about 22 states are known to have, within their jurisdictions, fixed guideway transportation systems that fall outside the regulatory authority and oversight of the designated state safety oversight agency. Other states may also have fixed guideway systems that are not subject to state safety oversight. The first step in addressing this deficiency is to identify all fixed guideway transportation systems within each state as a precursor to obtaining the regulatory authority to provide the necessary safety oversight. The NTSB, therefore, recommends that the DOT, the 50 states, and the District of Columbia work together to identify all fixed guideway transportation systems within each jurisdiction. Therefore, the National Transportation Safety Board makes the following safety recommendation to the U.S. Department of Transportation: Working with the 50 states and the District of Columbia, identify all fixed guideway transportation systems within each jurisdiction. (R-11-1) The National Transportation Safety Board also reiterates the following safety recommendation to the U.S. Department of Transportation: Continue to seek the authority to provide safety oversight of rail fixed guideway transportation systems, including the ability to promulgate and enforce safety regulations and minimum requirements governing operations, track and equipment, and signal and train control systems. (R-10-3) The NTSB also issued safety recommendations to the 50 states and the District of Columbia, to Miami-Dade County, and to Johnson Controls, Inc.

From: DOT
To: NTSB
Date: 12/20/2010
Response: FTA strongly endorses this recommendation. The leadership of DOT and FTA has worked hard to develop a workable safety regulatory framework that will meet the intent of NTSB's recommendation to support stronger safety assurance systems for the Nation's rail transit systems. U.S. rail transit carries more passengers on a daily basis than domestic airlines, Amtrak, or Commuter Rail. Yet rail transit operates in a significantly less regulated environment with regard to safety. While rail transit remains a statistically safe mode of travel, the Fort Totten collision coupled with other serious accidents around the country and an aging infrastructure support the need for a stronger Federal role. Recognizing this need, Secretary LaHood delivered the first ever DOT stand alone legislative proposal on transit to both houses of Congress on December 8, 2009. The Obama Administration's Public Transportation Safety Act of 2009 was delivered to the Senate Banking and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committees. On the Senate side, the Banking Committee made modifications to the proposal and reported it out to the full Senate on a unanimous and bipartisan basis. One Senator has placed a hold on the bill. Both Secretary LaHood and I have met numerous times with congressional staff and elected officials over the past year to gain support for nl0ving the legislation. When the new Congress convenes, we will redouble our efforts. Just last week, Secretary LaHood emphasized the importance of this legislation at a DOT "all hands" meeting. Successfully meeting this NTSB recommendation will remain one of our highest priorities. FTA staff also continues to meet with NTSB's Safety Recommendations and Quality Assurance Division (MD-3) staff on a quarterly basis, and the next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, December 22. These quarterly meetings allow us to provide an in-depth briefing to NTSB staff on FTA activities related to all open recommendations, receive their input on future activities and determine what additional information NTSB staff may need. In the meantime, if you have any questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact me. We are committed to working with the Board to address critical safety issues in the transit industry.

From: NTSB
To: DOT
Date:
Response: The NTSB is aware that, on December 8, 2009, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood asked Congress to provide the FTA with the proper funding and with rulemaking, examination, and enforcement authority to improve the safety of the nation’s transit systems. Although bills were introduced in both houses of Congress, they expired when the 111th Congress adjourned on December 22, 2010. The NTSB is also aware that both Secretary LaHood and FTA Administrator Rogoff have met frequently with congressional staff and elected officials over the past year to facilitate the reintroduction and passage of the necessary legislation. On March 10, 2011, the National Metro Safety Act (S. 562) was reintroduced in the 112th Congress. If enacted, the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the NTSB, would be required to develop, implement, and enforce national safety standards for transit agencies operating heavy rail on fixed guideways, including those related to crashworthiness, emergency access and egress, event recorders, and hours of service, as recommended by the NTSB. On March 31, 2011, companion legislation was reintroduced in the House of Representatives. Pending the DOT’s acquisition of authority for the FTA to oversee the safety of rail fixed guideway transportation systems, including the ability to promulgate and enforce safety regulations, Safety Recommendation R-10-3 is classified OPEN – ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.