Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsDrugs

Delay in Alcohol Ban for Train Engineers Criticized

March 21, 1985|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The head of the National Transportation Safety Board today chastised the Transportation Department for not moving more quickly to impose regulations prohibiting the use of alcohol or drugs by freight and passenger train engineers.

NTSB Chairman Jim Burnett said he found it "incredible" that, as far as federal laws are concerned, an engineer "can consume a bottle of whiskey while at the controls."

Seven people were killed last summer in two train crashes in Colorado and Wyoming--both involving alcohol or drugs. Both accidents involved the Burlington Northern Railroad and came within a 10-day period.

Partly in response to those accidents, the Federal Railroad Administration proposed a broad-ranging and controversial regulation last June that would prohibit the use of alcohol and drugs by engineers and give railroads more leeway to check for alcohol and drug abuse among their workers.

But Burnett expressed frustration that the regulation has not been put in force. He accused the Federal Railroad Administration, a Transportation Department agency, of reacting to publicity when a major rail accident involving alcohol occurs but then "sidetracking" the issue once public interest subsides.

A spokeswoman for the railroad administration, Wendy Democker, denied that the agency is stalling in issuing the rules on alcohol and drugs.

She said the regulation is expected to be sent to Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Hanford Dole "possibly any day" and has been held up because the agency wanted to review voluminous testimony given at public hearings last summer.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|