TTD letter urges FRA action on remote control rulemaking

In a letter to Federal Railroad Administrator Allan Rutter on behalf of the 35 affiliates of the AFL-CIO's Transportation Trades Department, Edward Wytkind urged the FRA to "favorably act on a rulemaking submitted by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers on the use of remote control locomotives."

The letter, dated March 11 and signed by TTD Executive Director Ed Wytkind, asked the FRA to initiate a rulemaking regarding remote control because the lack of regulations "jeopardizes the safety of both rail workers and communities located near rail operations." The letter cites the more than 40 accidents since the major railroads began utilizing the technology. The TTD is also concerned about the increased workloads by the operators of RCLs taking its toll on safety by forcing employees to cut corners because of increased demands on their time.

"The workload associated with operating a locomotive while performing other safety critical tasks, demands too much of a single individual. At some point, workers will, by necessity, take short cuts which will endanger themselves, other workers and the public," the letter states.

The TTD goes on to urge the FRA to create enforceable regulations because the current guidelines "do not go far enough to ensure that this technology is implemented and utilized safely."

The letter also cites the troubling refusal by the FRA to "provide the public, including rail labor, with the necessary forums and accident/incident data needed to address the safety issue raised with RCLs."

Wytkind also expresses his personal frustrations with the FRA as a result of the FRA's refusal to even meet with the BLE leadership and urged the FRA to initiate the rulemaking as soon as possible.

A copy of the letter is on the BLE website at:

<http://www.ble.org/pr/pdf/ttdrutter.pdf>.

 

 

© 2003 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers