Mandatory cameras should be installed in all New York City area train cabs to help determine causes of accidents and keep tabs on an engineer’s performance, Sen. Chuck Schumer said Sunday.
“Inward-facing cameras may help us detect dangerous patterns amongst engineers ahead of time,” said Schumer (D-N.Y.) at a news conference at the NJ Transit station in Penn Station. The Long Island Rail Road is testing cameras on a few trains, but has not rolled them out systemwide, officials said.
On Sept. 29, an NJ Transit train crashed into Hoboken Terminal during the morning rush hour, killing one woman and injuring more than 100 people.
Federal investigators determined that the train was traveling at 8 mph as it approached the station, but then sped up to 21 mph before slamming into the station’s bumper. The impact caused a partial collapse of the station’s roof.
“The driver says he doesn’t know what happened,” said Schumer, who serves on the Senate subcommittee on housing, transportation and community development. “Why did the train speed up — that’s the mystery.”
Schumer said installing the cameras would not be expensive, and that the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST), signed into law last year, would require all passenger railroads to install inward- and outward-facing cameras in the next two years.
“We have to make safety our No. 1 concern,” said Schumer, adding that waiting for the installation of the cameras may result in future accidents. Schumer also advocated for mandatory apnea sleep disorder tests for all train engineers.