NEW CARROLLTON, Md. (WUSA)-- After a horrific Metro Red Line tragedy in 2009 that killed nine people and injured 76, Maryland's Congressional delegation led the way in pushing for reform, insisting on national safety standards.
"We've been on the job. We see ourselves as safety officers. We're going to continue this work. We passed the legislation," announced Senator Barbara Mikulski, of Maryland.
Until now, there was not a single federal safety regulation for Metro trains or any other passenger train nationwide.
"Since 1964, there has been a gaping loophole in transit safety oversight," said Peter Rogoff, Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration.
"There was an absence in the culture of safety. This is nation's transit system. Our nation depends upon the Metro here," said Senator Ben Cardin, of Maryland.
Among the safety measures now under consideration:
--A minimum standard for a train cars' ability to withstand a crash
--Data recorders, or "black boxes," on each Metro trains
--Work rules, including hour-of-service limits so Metro conductors get enough sleep between shifts
"The legislators have done what they needed to do-give the authority to establish these safety standards. It's now up to Metro, the operators and the regulators to make sure that that promise is fulfilled," said National Transportation Safety Board Chair Deborah Hersman.
Each transit agency across the country will submit a safety plan. Those who do not meet the new standards will face the potential of losing grant money or other undetermined consequences.
Written by Andrea McCarren
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