In closing, I would like to recognize the hard work of the NTSB staff in
producing this Special Investigation Report, and thank my fellow Board Members
for their very helpful participation in the process.
In the report adopted today, we made many recommendations to Metro-North and
to the MTA, intended to help the railroad and its parent organization advance
safety and improve their safety culture.
We noted previous recommendations to the FRA that could have prevented these
accidents, had the FRA acted. And we adopted further recommendations - not only
to Metro-North, the MTA, and the FRA, but to others as well.
We have cast a broad net. For example, the derailment in the Bronx that took
four lives could have been prevented by a requirement to screen for sleep
disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA.
We reiterated a May 2012 recommendation to the FRA to require
safety-sensitive personnel to be screened for sleep disorders, and have now
issued a similar recommendation to Metro-North Railroad.
We have also recommended that railroad associations and unions collaborate on
a model national labor agreement to address sleep disorders - and other medical
disorders - among safety-sensitive personnel.
And to promote understanding of these disorders in the medical community, we
made companion recommendations to the American College of Physicians and the
American Association of Family Physicians.
In the process of preparing this report, we noted a rising trend in incidents
and accidents in passenger rail. Today's recommendations, in combination with
those adopted during our investigations and earlier recommendations reiterated
today, have the potential to reverse this trend - but only if they are acted
Metro-North has already acted favorably on some of our recommendations. By so
doing it has gone beyond what the FRA requires.
But the only way to ensure that similar safety measures are taken by all
passenger railroads is for the FRA to require them. Only the FRA can provide the
regulatory basis to improve passenger rail safety nation-wide, and we urge them
to do so.
We stand adjourned.