New Jersey Tran­sit had over 150 ac­ci­dents since 2011

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

HOBOKEN, NJ (AP): NEW JERSEY Tran­sit trains have been in­volved in more than 150 ac­ci­dents that caused in ex­cess of US$4.8 mil­lion in dam­age to tracks or equip­ment since 2011.

Fed­eral Rail­road Ad­min­is­tra­tion in­for­ma­tion shows that NJ Tran­sit set­tled 183 safety vi­o­la­tions – rang­ing from em­ployee drug and al­co­hol use to vi­o­la­tions of rail­road op­er­at­ing rules or prac­tices since Jan­uary 1, 2011. The set­tle­ment pay­ments in­clude about $70,000 for more than a dozen safety vi­o­la­tions in 2014 and 2015. Sta­tis­tics for the cur­rent year are not yet avail­able.

Months be­fore Thurs­day’s deadly com­muter train crash in Hoboken, New Jersey, fed­eral rail of­fi­cials found dozens of vi­o­la­tions dur­ing an au­dit fo­cus­ing on NJ Tran­sit’s safety and op­er­a­tions, a US of­fi­cial told The As­so­ci­ated Press on Satur­day. The of­fi­cial, who was fa­mil­iar with the rail­road ad­min­is­tra­tion au­dit, spoke to the AP on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause the of­fi­cial wasn’t au­tho­rised to speak pub­licly about an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The rail­road ad­min­is­tra­tion be­gan an au­dit in June af­ter notic­ing an uptick in rail in­ci­dents and found “dozens of safety vi­o­la­tions” that needed to be fixed im­me­di­ately, the of­fi­cial said. The com­muter rail agency was fined as a re­sult of the au­dit, the of­fi­cial said, adding that fed­eral agen­cies are con­tin­u­ing to work with the rail­road to en­sure com­pli­ance with fed­eral rail safety guide­lines.

There were 25 ac­ci­dents in 2015 and 10 in the first seven months of 2016, but none caused in­juries or death, fed­eral data showed. Most of the in­ci­dents oc­curred at low speeds and more than half were in train yards.

On Thurs­day, a com­muter train smashed through a stee­land-con­crete bumper and hur­tled into the sta­tion’s wait­ing area, killing a woman on the plat­form and in­jur­ing more than 100 other peo­ple.

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