Safety Task Force
Within three to six months after the accident, the NTSB may decide to hold either a broad scale "Public Hearing", or a lower scale "Deposition Hearing". In both types of hearings, the purpose is to examine witnesses under oath to learn more information or clarify certain issues. These hearings usually last from two to five days.
Submissions by the Parties to the Investigation
After the hearing has closed for a period of usually sixty days, the NTSB will receive and consider submissions from the parties as to their belief about:
- proposed findings,
- proposed probable cause(s), and
- proposed safety recommendations to prevent such accidents in the future.
This is a very important opportunity, and it is one that the STF utilizes to be able to be able to inject the "locomotive engineer's point-of-view" into the investigation process and the cause finding.
NTSB Technical Review
Following the hearing, usually within two to three months, a "Technical Review" is held by the NTSB at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. At this time, the final draft report of the Investigator-In-Charge is reviewed by all parties (including the BLET) for accuracy. The report is then "marked up" and presented to the NTSB Board.
NTSB Final Report
At a later public meeting held in Washington DC, the NTSB Board members review the entire file, and decide the probable causes, and issue their safety recommendations.
The final report is sent to the President and the Congress. This entire process takes about one year to unfold.
By Federal law, the entire process is open, and all information gathered is available to the BLE. The process is conducted in an impartial manner and the information supplied by the STF will be given meaningful consideration.