(WTRF) – The federal government has promised to crack down on railroad companies after what happened in East Palestine.
Now, there’s legislation Congress can pass to do that.
After seeing the site of the derailment for themselves, Ohio U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D) and J.D. Vance (R) introduced legislation to improve railway safety.
The Railway Safety Act of 2023 would require more workers to be on each train and create new safety protocols for hazardous materials.
It also increases fines for any violations.
According to the Senator, fines right now average about $10,000.
That’s just pennies on the dollar for a company like that.Senator Sherrod Brown, (D) Ohio
Senator Brown noted there have been three train derailments in the last four months in Ohio.
He said they’re absolutely preventable, especially if there is enough crew for a proper safety inspection.
There are so few workers now these are almost just cursory inspections. They’re not as thorough as they need to be. So, we absolutely could prevent something like that, but the railroads have been so focused on their greed and money making that they’ve compromised on safety.Senator Sherrod Brown, (D) Ohio
Senator Brown explained in the case of East Palestine, Norfolk Southern has laid off half their workforce in the last decade. He feels that compromised safety.
Other key points of the bill include creating requirements for wayside defect detectors and making sure governments and first responders are aware when a rail line is going through carrying hazardous materials.
Senator Brown also pointed out that there will be safety standards for wheeling bearings and upgrades to that equipment. He said that’s been the biggest reason for train derailments.