Critics say Senate bill would weaken rail safety

Published: July 10, 2015

Washington, D.C. — A transportation bill introduced by a Senate committee chairman would allow car rental companies to rent recalled vehicles that haven’t been repaired and eliminate any hard deadline for railroads to start using long-sought technology that automatically stops trains to prevent crashes, safety advocates say.

The bill was introduced Thursday by Sen. John Thune, R – S.D., the chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

The bill includes provisions that would give freight and commuter railroads and Amtrak more time to install positive train control. The technology relies on GPS, wireless radio and computers to monitor train position and automatically stop trains that are in danger of derailing because they’re traveling too fast, are about to collide with another train or are about to enter an area where crews are working on tracks.

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