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U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces Updated Locomotive Safety Standards

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced a final locomotive safety rule that eliminates unnecessary regulatory burdens, facilitates the use of new technologies and incorporates existing industry and engineering best practices.

The new rule is in keeping with President Obama’s directive to agencies to reduce the burdens of regulatory red tape.

“Safety is our top priority,” said Secretary LaHood. “This rule will help improve safety and working conditions while also providing significant regulatory relief to the railroad industry.”

The final rule modernizes and streamlines the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) safety regulatory program for locomotives by consolidating existing regulations and addressing technological advancements. Some provisions of the existing rule had not been updated in the previous 30 years, while technology, industry standards and best practices continued to evolve. The rule addresses reliability and performance criteria for the design, operation, inspection, testing, maintenance, repair and record-keeping for various mechanical and electronic components, as well as certain safety appliances and control systems.

Many of the requirements in the final rule are based on existing waivers that have been granted by FRA’s Safety Board to address railroad or geographic specific conditions, and the revised regulations provide efficiencies by doing away with the need to go through a waiver process.

“We greatly appreciate the efforts of the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) Locomotive Safety Standards Working Group for providing valuable input across the board and reaching consensus on several key issues,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo. “Ensuring that railroads operate and maintain locomotives safely is a cornerstone of federal rail safety oversight.”

The final rule, published in today’s Federal Register becomes effective June 8, 2012 and can be viewed here.

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