Federal government agency advocates safer mass transit

Federal government agency advocates safer mass transit


New York City depends on its buses, subways and ferry boats for transporting workers, students and other passengers. Mass transit use is increasing more than population growth and highway travel.


However, transit accidents can be calamitous. The National Transportation Safety Board identified mass transit as one of the transportation issues requiring improvements in safety. The NTSB seeks the proper and safe integration of advanced technologies to increase safety in mass transit systems.


These devices include equipping buses with collision warning systems, adding positive train control to rail and subway systems and installing fire detection and suppression systems on all vessels. The use of video and data recorders can monitor employee compliance with safety regulations and policies and assist with the investigation of accidents and safety incidents.


Training, maintenance and inspection schedules should be improved. All levels of management, line supervisors, unions and support contractors should increase communication and coordination over system design, operation and safety.


The NTSB asked mass transit agencies to increase their scrutiny of the role of human error in accidents and near-accident situations. Fatigue management systems and procedures governing the confidential reporting of near misses are considered successful management systems to address human error.


Agencies, according to the NTSB, should adopt policies such as the one used by one major metropolitan transit authority. This transit authority has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers using personal electronic devices. Operator distraction has been the leading reason for firing drivers for this transit authority.


The NTSB’s attention on this issue indicates that mass transit accidents will continue to cause injuries and fatalities. Victims of these accidents may want to explore the possibility of pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.