Remote control safety bill reintroduced in Congress

Legislation would prohibit remote control locomotives from transporting hazardous materials

Representative Gene Green (D-TX) has reintroduced a bill banning the use of remote control locomotives to carry hazardous materials in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, H.R. 2843, had been originally introduced in the 108th Congress.

In addition to banning the use of remote control locomotives to transport hazardous materials, the bill also provides for greater security for the technology, forcing the rail carriers to keep the transmitters and locomotives under lock and key when not in use.

"Hazardous materials present very high safety and security risks," Representative Green said. "We cannot rely on an unproven, questionable new transportation technology to transport this material through our backyards.

"All federal investigations have raised serious concerns with remote control safety," Representative Green said. "This bill is needed because hazardous materials have the highest safety and security risks, so they should be banned from remote control trains until proven safe."

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen worked closely with Rep. Green's office to write the bill. The BLET has been concerned with the use of remote control since its widespread implementation began in 2001.

"I would like to thank Congressman Green and his staff for recognizing the gravity of the situation and putting forth this bill, which will greatly improve the safety of remote control operations if passed," BLET National President Don M. Hahs said. "I would also like to thank all those Brothers and Sisters who worked with the Congressman on this piece of legislation."

BLET's concern regarding remote control operations was recently underscored by two reports issued by the Federal Railroad Administration. The FRA's Office of Research and Development issued two reports on May 24, confirming significant safety concerns with remote control locomotives.

The BLET is the only rail operating union to report on these FRA findings.

The FRA's analysis determined that four critical safety issues were common in remote control operations:

"The FRA's findings make it apparent that legislation regarding the safety of remote control is more necessary than ever before," BLET President Hahs said. "I hope that this legislation is passed in this Congress because it is important to both the safety of our members and the general public."

BLET members are urged to contact their members of Congress (toll-free at (877) 762-8762) in order to support H.R. 2843.


© 2005 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen