WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — Amtrak said Tuesday it will install video cameras inside locomotive cabs to record the actions of train engineers, a move that follows a deadly derailment earlier this month in which investigators are searching for clues to the train engineer’s actions before the crash.
As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, the idea is to record the actions of the train engineer. But critics say they’re not sure the move will contribute to safety.READ MORE: Fourth Stimulus Check: Is Another Relief Payment Coming Soon?
The Amtrak engineer, Brandon Bostian, suffered a head injury in the accident in Philadelphia and has told investigators he can’t remember what happened. Northeast Regional train 188 accelerated to a speed of 106 miles per hour in the last minute before entering a curve where it derailed. The speed limit for the curve is 50 mph. The crash left eight people dead and about 200 injured.
The train was equipped with a “black box” data recorder and an outward-facing camera focused on the track ahead, but neither of those devices reveals what was happening inside the cab.
So will the installation of a camera make us safer? Robert “Buzz” Paaswell doesn’t think so.
“I don’t think it does, if you think about a camera watching a driver, if the driver falls asleep, somebody has to be monitoring the camera,” said the professor of civil engineering at City College of New York.
Paaswell ran the Chicago Transit Authority in the 1980s, and said cameras are only really helpful to investigators after an accident.
He said Amtrak needs to complete the installation of its “Positive Train Control,” a computer system that can take over the train, and for example, slow it down if it’s speeding.