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Train Companies Ignore Recommended Safety Upgrades

Travel by train or bus can be a safe, enjoyable, and economical way to travel. While trains are generally safe for passengers, following these tips can help to ensure that you remain safe for your journey. If you have to move once the train is in motion, forgo the macho swagger and hold onto the handrails. Even those of us with the best balance can be thrown off when a train suddenly brakes or goes around a curve. If you must walk between cars, do so carefully. The metal pathway between cars can be slippery.

The New York Times reports on the safety features that are lacking on Amtrack and Greyhound buses and trains. In February, the National Transportation Safety Bureau released a list of its “most wanted” safety features for buses and trains in the United States. Some of their recommendations include safety features to keep windows intact and passenger restraints.

Unfortunately, Amtrak, Greyhound, and many other national and regional transportation carriers have not adopted these recommendations. According to the NTSB, 44 people died in bus crashes in 2017. The Federal Railroad Administration said that 21 passengers and employees were killed in Amtrak and commuter train accidents in 2017 and 2018.

Another item on its most wanted list is “compartmentalization,” which is a design in which closely spaced, well-padded, and high-backed passenger seats help to absorb energy during accidents. When an accident or a derailment occurs, passengers can become like ping-pong balls with one another and the interior of the train cars. Falling luggage is also a serious concern for train accidents.

When asked about seatbelts, an Amtrak spokesperson said that international studies had indicated that adding seatbelts to passenger cars did not increase safety effectively.


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