Railroad Safety

Accident Trends and FRA Safety Programs Gao ID: T-RCED-92-23 January 13, 1992

This testimony discusses past GAO work on rail safety and pending legislation introduced in response to recent rail accidents involving the release of dangerous chemicals. GAO testified that although rail accidents have declined over the past 11 years for several reasons, GAO believes that they are still too high. The Federal Railroad Administration has been conscientious about responding to GAO reports, reflecting a sincere commitment to improve its operations and increase the safety of the railroad industry. Many corrective actions, however, are still being implemented or are so new that GAO cannot comment on their effectiveness. Overall, pending legislation in Congress would also improve rail safety, particularly in the hazardous materials area. As GAO mentioned in earlier reports, one issue that still needs to be addressed is the problems associated with the Research and Special Programs Administration's hazardous materials database. Congress may want to focus on this issue when considering future legislation to improve hazardous materials transportation safety.

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