NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Federal regulators who concluded that an engineer’s sleep apnea caused a deadly Metro-North train derailment in the Bronx adopted several recommendations Wednesday for better screening of such disorders, including a call for improved physician training.
The National Transportation Safety Board, meeting in Washington, approved all the conclusions and recommendations in a staff report that examined five Metro-North Railroad accidents in New York and Connecticut in 2013 and 2014.
“We noted a rising trend of accidents and incidents in passenger rail,” said Christopher Hart, acting chairman of the NTSB. “Today’s recommendations — have the potential to reverse this trend.”
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said he was “pleased that the NTSB’s final recommendations reflect the need to change that culture of safety.”
“The recent tragedies involving Metro-North trains have demonstrated time and again that this rail line emphasized on-time performance above an honest concern for, and investment in safety for commuters and rail workers alike,” Schumer said in a statement. “These expert NTSB recommendations, involving track safety, improved training and more, must be rules of the rails and will undoubtedly help prevent future tragedies.”
Among the Metro-North accidents was a Dec. 1 derailment that killed four people near the Spuyten Duyvil station.
The NTSB said last month that engineer William Rockefeller had fallen asleep at the controls because he had a severe, undiagnosed case of sleep apnea.