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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-91-024
Details
Synopsis: ABOUT 3:13 A.M. EASTERN DAYLIGHT TIME, ON 8/9/90, NORTH BOUND NORFOLK SOUTHERN (NS) FREIGHT TRAIN 188 COLLIDED WITH SOUTHBOUND NS LOCAL FREIGHT TRAIN G-38 AT CONTROL POINT DAVIS NEAR SUGAR VALLEY, GEORGIA. THE CONDUCTOR ON TRAIN 188 & THE CONDUCTOR & ENGINEER ON TRAIN G-38 WERE FATALLY INJURED. THE TRAINMEN ON BOTH TRAINS & THE ENGINEER ON TRAIN 188 RECEIVED MINOR INJURIES. DAMAGE WAS ESTIMATED AT $1,268,680.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION: ESTABLISH UNIFORM MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS FOR TRAIN CREWMEMBERS THAT ARE BASED ON REASONABLE STANDARDS CONSISTENT WITH CURRENT MEDICAL PRACTICES, & REQUIRE CARRIERS TO PROVIDE THEIR TRAIN CREWMEMBERS WITH PERIODIC MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS BASED ON THESE STANDARDS.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: SUGAR VALLEY, GA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA90MR008
Accident Reports: Collision and Derailment of Norfolk Southern Train 188 with Norfolk Southern Train G-38
Report #: RAR-91-02
Accident Date: 8/9/1990
Issue Date: 9/16/1991
Date Closed: 9/16/1993
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FRA (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FRA
Date: 9/16/1993
Response: THE BOARD SUPPORTS REQUIRING EMPLOYEES IN SAFETY-SENSITIVE POSITIONS TO PERIODICALLY DEMONSTRATE MINIMUM MEDICAL QUALIFICATIONS AND IS THEREFORD DISAPPOINTED THAT THE FRA DOES NOT CONSIDER UNIFORM MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS NECESSARY FOR TRAIN CREWMEMBERS. SINCE THE FRA IS "NOT PERSUADED THAT SUCH A PROGRAM IS URGENT AS TO WARRANT REDIRECTION OF EXISTING RESOURECES." THE BOARD HAS CLASSIFIED RECOMMENDATION R-91-24 "CLOSED--UNACCEPTABLE ACTION."

From: FRA
To: NTSB
Date: 6/28/1993
Response: ALTHOUGH COMPREHENSIVE PHYSICAL QUALIFICATIONS COULD BE REQUIRED FOR TRAIN AND ENGINE CREWMEMBERS, THE FRA DOES NOT BELIEVE THEY ARE NECESSARY AT THIS TIME. THE MOST SAFETY-SENSITIVE POSITION ON THE RAILROAD IS THE LCOMOTIVE ENGINEER, FOR WHOM BASIC STANDARDS HAVE BEEN PROVIDED, AS DISCUSSED IN RESPONSE TO R-91-23. UNLIKE OTHER MODES OF TRANSPORTATION, A RAILROAD HAS INHERENT SAFETY FEATURES THAT CAN MITIGATE AN OPERATOR'S PHYSICAL INCAPACITATION. IN SHORT, THE NATURE OF THE RAIL MODE, AND THE REDUNDANCY DESIGNED INTO MOST RAILROAD SAFETY SYSTEMS AND PROCEDURES, MAKE IT LESS LIKELY THAT MEDICAL INCAPACITATION WILL LEAD TO A SERIOUS ACCIDENT. WE AGREE WITH THE BOARD THAT THOSE OTHER SYSTEMS AND PROCEDURES SHOULD BE STRENGTHENED, AND WE BELIEVE THAT EFFORT DESERVES FIRST PRIORITY, SINCE NO MEDICAL STANDARDS PROGRAM COULD EXCLUDE THE POSSIBILITY OF SUDDEN INCAPACITATION OR EXERCISE OF BAD JUDGEMENT. THE VISION AND HEARING STANDARDS FOR LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEERS ARE READILY ADMINISTERED USING WELL ACCEPTED MEDICAL TESTS AND, AT THIS DATE, DO NOT APPEAR TO REQUIRE ACTIVE FEDERAL INTERVENTION. HOWEVER, FRA IS NOT ABLE TO ADOPT MORE COMPREHENSIVE MEDICAL STANDARDS FOR LOCOMOTIVE EMPLOYEE OTHER CREWMEMBERS. GIVEN CURRENT RESTRAINTS ON THE FEDERAL BUDGET, FRA IS NOT ABLE TO FULLY STAFF EXISTING PROGRAMS THAT ARE MANDATED BY LAW; AND CREATION OF AN ENTIRE ORGANIZATION ELEMENT TO SUPPORT A MEDICAL PROGRAM IS SIMPLY NOT POSSIBLE AT THIS TIME.