Rail Fatigue Legislation Safety culture

Legislation intends to prevent fatigue among rail workers

Reprints

Washington – In response to recent fatigue-related crashes involving the Metro-North Commuter Railroad, members of the House introduced a bill on May 6 intended to help reduce fatigue among workers in the rail industry.

If passed, the bill would require the Federal Railroad Administration to implement the following measures:

  • Require trains traveling at speeds greater than 25 mph to be equipped with devices that alert train operators who are idle for an extended period of time
  • Require rail carriers to implement fatigue management plans that address the prevention and treatment of sleep disorders
  • Improve hours-of-service requirements so rail workers have more predictable and defined work schedules

The bill also would require railroads to implement certain backup safety technologies that would help prevent train incidents caused by fatigued operators, including redundant signal protection for maintenance-of-way workers who otherwise depend on dispatchers to inform them of oncoming trains.

At press time, the bill had been referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.