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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-09-009
Synopsis: On May 28, 2008, about 5:51 p.m., eastern daylight time, westbound Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Green Line train 3667, traveling about 38 mph, struck the rear of westbound Green Line train 3681, which had stopped for a red signal. The accident occurred in Newton, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. Each train consisted of two light rail trolley cars and carried two crewmembers—a train operator at the front of the lead car and a trail operator in the second car. The operator of the striking train was killed; the other three crewmembers sustained minor injuries. An estimated 185 to 200 passengers were on the two trains at the time of the collision. Of these, four sustained minor injuries, and one was seriously injured. Total damage was estimated to be about $8.6 million.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL TRANSIT ADMINISTRATION: Develop and disseminate guidance for operators, transit authorities, and physicians regarding the identification and treatment of individuals at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: Newton, MA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Accident #: DCA08MR007
Accident Reports: Collision Between Two Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Green Line Trains
Report #: RAR-09-02
Accident Date: 5/28/2008
Issue Date: 7/23/2009
Date Closed: 4/11/2018
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FTA (Closed - Acceptable Action)

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
Date: 4/11/2018
Response: We are pleased that you developed an online course on fatigue and sleep apnea awareness for transit employees. We note that you notified transit agencies of this training in a “Dear Colleague” letter that advises them to inform physicians about the online training, including the self assessment portion for those physicians who perform preemployment physicals. These actions satisfy the intent of Safety Recommendation R-09-9, which is classified CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: FTA
Date: 12/11/2017
Response: -From K. Jane Williams, Acting Administrator: The e-Learning course on Fatigue and Sleep Apnea Awareness remains active on the Transportation Safety Institute Website. This training is for transit industry personnel, including transit vehicle operators, other transit employees, and transit authorities. The FTA sent a Dear Colleague letter to transit agencies on July 3, 2013 to inform them of this training. Because FTA does not regulate physicians and cannot mandate that physicians complete this training, the Dear Colleague letter also advised transit agencies that they should inform physicians that this training is offered and contains a self-assessment for the physicians who do pre-employment physicals, where applicable. The FTA will also provide additional guidance to the transit industry regarding the availability of this e-Learning course, sleep disorder screening tools, and other readily available fatigue management resources in an upcoming monthly Transit Safety and Oversight Spotlight Newsletter. We consider that these FTA actions meet the intent of Recommendation R-09-009, and request that you close this recommendation. Thank you for the opportunity to respond to this NTSB recommendation. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Dr. Thomas Littleton, FTA’s Associate Administrator for Transit Safety and Oversight.

From: NTSB
Date: 7/23/2014
Response: On September 19, 2010, we classified Safety Recommendation R-09-9 “Open?Acceptable Response” because you were partnering with the Federal Railroad Administration to create a sleep disorder self-assessment website for employees and were developing a guide to aid transit agencies in identifying and treating sleep disorders. Although we are pleased that you developed an on-line course, Fatigue and Sleep Apnea Awareness for Transit Employees (FT00558) and issued the 2013 Dear Colleague letter, the course appears to relate only to employees and not to operators, transit authorities, or physicians, as requested. We need additional clarification from you regarding this before we can evaluate your actions. With the exception of the 2009 and 2013 Dear Colleague letters your staff provided, we have received no further information to date on your progress in implementing Safety Recommendation R-09-7, R-09-8, or R-09-9. Please provide us an update, preferably electronically at

From: NTSB
Date: 9/19/2010
Response: The NTSB notes that the FTA is considering partnering with the FRA to create a sleep disorder self-assessment website for employees, as well as developing a guide on this issue that can be used by transit agencies. Pending completion of these tasks, Safety Recommendation R-09-9 is classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE. The NTSB would appreciate receiving a timeline stating the steps necessary toward fully implementing this recommendation.

From: FTA
Date: 6/2/2010
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/16/2010 12:11:42 PM MC# 2100205: - From Peter Rogoff, Administrator: Staff is developing options. FTA is evaluating partnering with FRA on an employee sleep disorder self-assessment website, as well as, developing a guide that can be used by transit agencies.

From: FTA
Date: 9/16/2009
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 9/28/2009 2:51:34 PM MC# 2090606: - From Peter M. Rogoff, Administrator: We are in the process of developing options to address these recommendations and will be reporting our progress to you as our plans develop.