[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) released the following statement today in response to the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) findings today on the Amtrak crash in Philadelphia last May:
“The absence of positive train control at Frankford Junction resulted in the death of eight innocent people. Today’s NTSB board meeting was a scathing indictment of railroads and their decades of delay in implementing this life-saving technology. In the NTSB’s harrowing, heartbreaking account of human error, one clear, unequivocal fact emerges: eight lives were lost and hundreds more people were injured in a tragic catastrophe that could have been prevented by PTC. While some railroads have worked in earnest to implement PTC, we can add the death toll in Philadelphia to the tally of hundreds of lives taken and thousands injured because most railroads have resisted implementing PTC. Congressional acquiescence to their demands for delay has been culpable as well.”
Positive train control – or PTC – is a life-saving technology first urged by the National Transportation Safety Board in 1970 after a tragic train collision in Darien, Connecticut. PTC is a GPS-based system designed to prevent certain types of train accidents caused by human factors. Since it was first recommended, the absence of PTC has been linked to the deaths of hundreds and the injuries of thousands. In 2008, Congress finally mandated railroads install PTC by the end of 2015; however, Congress extended the deadline to 2020 last year. Senator Blumenthal has fought vigorously to ensure railroads implement PTC immediately and has fought against irresponsible efforts to extend the deadline.