July 29, 2016

SMART TD, BLET: Federal regulators must prohibit one-person freight train crews

SMART Transportation Division President John Previsich and Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) President Dennis Pierce, issued a joint statement, following their submission of their comments to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on train crew size. “Operating freight trains with one-person train crews is unsafe and must be prohibited. That is the message we […]

SMART TD, BLET submit joint comments on FRA proposed two-person crew rule

On Wednesday, June 15, SMART Transportation Division and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) submitted their joint comments on the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) proposed two-person crew rule. While both unions strongly support the proposed rule, they suggested in their comments that the rule be made stronger before being made final. “We firmly […]

FRA clarifies “Smartwatch” Rule – Fitbits restricted

The question? May an employee wear a device like a “Garmin Vivofit” or “Fitbit” wristband that acts like a watch, and counts the steps that an individual takes each day?  The devices are not searching for the internet, or Wifi, to do this and must be synchronized with Bluetooth on a separate device. The devices […]

New FRA rules strengthen protections for MOW workers, expands drug & alcohol testing

Separate rules increase protections, add Maintenance of Way workers to drug and alcohol testing policy WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced it has issued two final rules to better protect railroad employees working on or near railroad tracks. One rule amends the existing Roadway Worker Protection regulation. The […]

SMART TD contests radio distractions to FRA

In a letter dated May 26, 2016, to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), SMART TD National Legislative Director John Risch brought attention to the fact that some railroads are requiring needless radio broadcasts to the already-congested radio airways, which caused a derailment and loss of life in the case of the May 2015 Amtrak crash. […]

NTSB releases probable cause of Amtrak 188 crash

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) held a board meeting (webcasted live) yesterday, detailing the probable cause of the May 2015 Amtrak train 188 derailment outside of Philadelphia. The derailment caused eight people to lose their lives and over 200 injuries. The NTSB found that “the probable cause of the accident was the engineer’s acceleration […]

Risch, Harrison testify at Sleep Apnea hearing

National Legislative Director John Risch and Local 759 (Newark, N.J.) Secretary and Treasurer Craig Harrison testified at a public hearing today before the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) about Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Harrison, who works for Coach USA, testified about his hardships as a result of being diagnosed […]

FRA, FMCSA to host listening sessions on Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) will host three public listening sessions to solicit information on the prevalence of moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) among individuals occupying safety sensitive positions in highway and rail transportation, its potential consequences for the safety of rail and highway transportation, and the […]

Ill. county passes resolution supporting proposed two-person crew rule

The following is an article written by SMART Transportation Division Illinois State Legislative Director Bob Guy and was originally published on the Illinois State Legislative Board website, www.illini.utu.org. Upon the urging of SMART, the Will County Board passed a resolution supporting the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) proposed two-person crew rule. The deadline to submit comments […]

THUD allocates $56.5 billion to fund transportation

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) passed $56.5 billion legislation to fund its programs for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. The bill includes several positive allocations for rail: $1.7 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration –  $76 million above FY 2016 enacted level $525 million for TIGER Grants – $25 million […]