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Railroads unprepared as safety deadline approaches

Train passengers in South Carolina may feel more comfortable riding the rails once a safety technology called positive train control is installed. For the last 40 years, the National Transportation Safety Board has been advising railroads to install PTC in order to prevent fatal accidents like the Amtrak crash that killed eight people in May. In 2008, Congress passed a rail safety law that gave railroads until Dec. 31, 2015, to install the technology.

Despite the approaching deadline, there are only three railroads that are on track to implement PTC. A freight railroad called BNSF Railway and two commuter railroads in Los Angeles and Philadelphia have presented the required safety plans to the government. Although Amtrak has not yet submitted a safety plan, railroad officials say that the Northeast Corridor is expected to have PTC by the deadline.

Many railroads haven't begun installing the safety technology because it is too expensive for them to afford. PTC uses wireless radio, GPS and computers to prevent train derailments by automatically stopping or slowing down trains that are going too fast or approaching other trains. The president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads said that making sure PTC is working correctly is more important than reaching a deadline for implementing it.

Railroad and train workers are the people who are most at risk for being injured in a train accident because they work on and around trains everyday. A worker who has been injured in a train accident can claim workers' compensation benefits while they are recovering from their workplace injuries. An attorney may be able to help a train worker to claim the maximum amount of benefits for their injuries.

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