Last week, the SMART Transportation Division National Legislative Office submitted comments to the Department of Transportation (DOT) seeking input on existing rules and other agency actions that are good candidates for repeal, replacement, suspension, or modification. In our comments, we remind the DOT that many rules and regulations in the railroad industry were written in blood and that the reduction in overall accident rates are thanks to the various safety regulations issued by agencies like the Federal Railroad Administration.
Furthermore, we urged the DOT to continue to engage the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) for future rulemaking — a collaborative process that has been successful for nearly 20 years. Alternatively, the Association for American Railroads has called on the DOT to issue rules “based on a demonstrated need, as reflected in current and complete data and sound science; and non-prescriptive regulatory tools, like performance-based regulations…” while listing a number of existing federal requirements. We believe this approach would only undermine critical safety needs in the rail industry such as the need for two-person crews and ECP braking systems.