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Schumer, Blumenthal Statement On NTSB Finding That Metro-North Driver Involved In December Derailment Suffered From Sleep Apnea, Fatigue

(Washington, DC) –Today, U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) released the following statement in response to the National Transportation and Safety Board’s (NTSB) finding that the Metro-North driver of the train that derailed on December 1 in New York City suffered from sleep apnea and fatigue:

“It is almost surreal that someone with this ailment could be in charge of a train with hundreds of passengers on board. The tragic outcome should haunt Metro North officials.

“Since 1987, the National Transportation Safety Board has been urging the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to implement their recommendations dealing with worker fatigue issues. Today, we urge the FRA to immediately finalize the three open recommendations from 2012 dealing specifically with sleep apnea. We also call on the FRA to begin the rulemaking process for NTSB’s medical certification regulations for employees in safety-sensitive positions that include, at a minimum, a complete medical history that includes specific screening for sleep disorders. The FRA must act on these outstanding rules with a sense of urgency – the commuting public deserves nothing less.”

NTSB has submitted four recommendations to FRA related to sleep apnea and fatigue. The recommendations are: R-13-021 (general medical evaluation for safety workers); R-12-016 (sleep apnea); R-12-018 (sleep apnea); R-12-019 (sleep apnea), and all can be seen in their entirety by clicking here.