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NTSB Recommendations Could Change Rail Travel

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Gigi Barnett anchors the Weekend Morning Edition with Meteorologist...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Changes are coming to the way you travel. The National Transportation Safety Board just released a top 10 list of improvements.

Gigi Barnett explains the safety concerns, especially with rail travel.

The National Transportation Safety Board releases its most wanted list–their ways to keep passengers safe on all modes of travel.

Leading the top 10 safety concerns are the nation’s commuter rails. In the 2009 D.C. Metro Red Line wreck that killed nine passengers, agents discovered several safety problems.

“They were paying more attention at the board level to schedules and on-time performance than they were to safety,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman.

In the five years since the accident, Metro has added a new fleet of railcars and workers are installing new controls that will better locate trains and slow them down automatically in the event of an emergency.

“Every year, we have more than 35,000 fatalities in transportation in the United States. We can and must do better,” Hersman said.

But the changes aren’t just for large rail systems. The top 10 list also focuses on smaller commuter lines, like Baltimore’s light rail.

“I haven’t experienced anything unsafe about it,” one commuter said.

“I’ve been riding the light rail going back to work for five years,” said another. “I feel real safe.”

Also on the list this year are passenger vessels, like ferries. For decades, NTSB agents thought it was the vessels themselves causing accidents. They now know it was poor safety procedures.

In addition to the D.C. Metro accident, NTSB investigators are looking into recent commuter train wrecks in New York, as well as Chicago.

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