WASHINGTON (CN) - The Federal Railroad Administration has established new standards to detect equipment flaws, in an effort to improve railway safety.
After two major derailments in the United States, one in 2001 and one in 2006, several government reports recommended that the FRA update its safety rules.
In 2001, an Amtrak train in Iowa derailed, killing one and injuring 78. In 2006, a train loaded with flammable liquid derailed over a railroad bridge in Pennsylvania, forcing nearby homes and businesses to evacuate.
The FRA worked with the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee, a group of stakeholders, to update its safety rules.
The resulting rules
give owners of railroad tracks a four-hour period to verify the existence of suspected defects and establishes a method to determine how often to inspect tracks for defects.
Using this method, the frequency of track inspection is based on several factors, including the rate of service failures and accumulated weight of cargo between tests.
The FRA estimated that over the next two decades, the rule will save nearly $63 million.
The rule is effective March 25, and the agency is accepting petitions for reconsideration before that time.