Reported by Jorge Ventura for News Nation.
Six months after the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, not much has been done to prevent another such disaster in terms of safety regulations.
Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress agree the railroad industry needs new safety regulations but so far, the situation remains deadlocked in Washington, D.C.
On Thursday, officials in New York reported a commuter train derailment that seriously injured two people and left another 11 hurt. The following day, officials say a freight train derailed in upstate New York, disrupting Amtrak services.
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On Saturday, eight to 10 cars derailed from a track in Eastland, Texas, causing a grassfire. No injuries were reported.
A train also derailed in Amherst, Texas, on Monday, when a driver did not yield to the train at a railroad crossing and was hit, according to officials. The five rail cars attached to the train engine were derailed and the driver died as a result
In 2022, the U.S. averaged roughly three derailments per day with more than 1,000 train derailments across the country, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.
Experts say human error is the leading cause of these derailments, with track defects being the second most common cause.
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“There have been more than 60 high-profile derailments since East Palestine, including multiple in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Montana,” according to the Transportation Trades Department, which includes the rail unions.
“Through it all, freight rail companies have maintained their fundamental disregard for public safety. Safety is just a buzzword to the railroads,” the Transportation Trades Coalition added.
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg told NewsNation he supports the Railroad Safety Act, a bill that would introduce new safety regulations for the railroad industry, proposed by Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) and Ohio Sen. J. D. Vance (R).
“In order to get to the next level, we’re gonna need legislation. And that’s why we are strongly supporting the Railway Safety Act that is moving through Congress right now.” Buttigieg said, “It’s one of our core missions and it’s one of the things that has been important over the years in making railroads safer than they used to be.”
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