WASHINGTON, DC (September 18, 2008) – The following statement is from Ed Rodzwicz, the president of the Teamsters Rail Conference and National President of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) about the Metrolink railroad accident this past Friday in Chatsworth, California:
“A rush to judgment is never beneficial in a situation such as this. We are actively working with the National Transportation Safety Board to determine the causes of the tragic accident which occurred last Friday on the Metrolink line in Chatsworth, California. All of our members know that railroad jobs are inherently dangerous jobs, but an accident such as this can be avoided.”
“This accident would not have occurred had the Metrolink system been using positive train control technology. This safety system is designed to keep trains from colliding by preventing them from inadvertently passing a stop signal.”
“We have long supported the development and implementation of positive train control technology, and we urge the railroad industry and the federal government to redouble their efforts to eliminate the risks that positive train control technology is designed to address.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who perished or were injured as a result of this deadly accident. The Metrolink engineer operating the train was a dedicated union member and our thoughts also are with his family and friends at this time.”
Preliminary investigations indicate the engineer, who died in the crash, may have been sending text messages at the time he drove through a red light. Twenty five people died and 135 were injured in the crash, the worst rail disaster America has seen in 15 years.