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Schumer calls on feds to mandate conductor cameras in trains

Workers upright and move a derailed Metro-North train

Workers upright and move a derailed Metro-North train car in the Bronx. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer called on the federal government Sunday to step up its safety precautions on trains in light of last week's Metro-North derailment.

Schumer said the National Tranportation Safety Board made several recommendations following a similar crash in 2008, including installing cameras inside the engineer and conducting rooms to monitor the train's crew. As of today, the Federal Railroad Association has yet to implement any of those recommendations, which the senator said would act as a deterrent to sloppy behavior by train crews.

"Inward facing cameras may help railroad managers detect dangerous patterns amongst engineers ahead of time, and also help investigators determine the cause of a future rail accident. It's time the FRA gets onboard with the National Transportation Safety Board's recommendation," Schumer said in a statement.

In a statement, the FRA said,"Safety is our highest priority and 2012 was the safest year in the railroading history. We support the use of cameras in cabs to further improve safety, and as we continue to work with the NTSB on this investigation, we are considering making this recommendation and others to Metro-North."

William Rockefeller, the engineer of the Metro-North train that crashed last Sunday, told investigators that he "zoned out" during the time of accident in which four people died and dozens were injured.

The NTSB has pushed the federal government to implement the plans and are frustrated that it has been stalled for more than four years, Schumer said.

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