[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) released the following statement in response to documents made public today by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that revealed the engineers in two train crashes were suffering from undiagnosed sleep apnea. This information came to light just a month after President Donald Trump ordered the reversal of an early-stage rule that would have required engineers undergo testing for sleep apnea and similar conditions.
“In a bizarre, brazen act, the President rolled back critical reforms last month that would save lives and help ensure tragedies like the Hoboken, Brooklyn, and Spuyten Duyvil crashes never happen again,” said Blumenthal. “The President owes an explanation to victims of future crashes for his callousness and carelessness. Regardless of the President’s recalcitrance and resistance to smart safety reforms, I call on all railroads to properly test and screen workers for sleep apnea and ensure they receive proper treatment so they can continue to work and earn a paycheck – and rail passengers can rest assured of the safety of their commute.”
Although prior reports have suggested sleep apnea was a causal factor in the Hoboken and Brooklyn crashes, the documents released by the NTSB today are the first confirmation of the dangers posed by this condition. Blumenthal has urged investigation into the link between sleep apnea and fatal train crashes, and called repeatedly on federal authorities to mandate rail safety measures like Positive Train Control (PTC) nationwide.