According to a government report, many railroads are behind schedule to install new safety technology that could prevent railroad crashes in Minnesota and nationwide. All U.S. railroads are required to be using the technology, known as positive train control, by Dec. 31, 2015.
On Aug. 7, the Federal Railroad Administration reported that only BNSF Railway, the nation’s second largest freight line, and the commuter Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority in Philadelphia and Metrolink in Los Angeles, have submitted the required safety plans to install PTC technology. Amtrak has not yet submitted a plan, but it is expected to be running PTC on its Northeast Corridor train lines by the end of the year. Meanwhile, Union Pacific, which is the largest freight railroad in the U.S., and Norfolk Southern haven’t installed PTC on any of their trains.
In 2008, Congress passed legislation mandating that PTC technology be installed on all railroads within seven years. PTC uses GPS, wireless radio and computers to track the location of trains and prevent accidents by automatically slowing or stopping trains that are in danger of derailments or collisions. Advocates of the technology believe it would have prevented the Amtrak crash that killed eight people and injured another 200 in May 2015. However, the installation process for PTC is expensive and complex, and many railroads have been urging the government to extend the Dec. 31 deadline.
Most Minnesota employees who are injured in workplace accidents are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance is designed to cover medical expenses and a portion of any salary lost due to injury. In order to ensure that all required documentation is properly prepared, it may be helpful to work with an attorney when filing a workers’ compensation claim. If a claim is disputed or denied, an attorney may be able to file an appeal on behalf of an injured worker.