The Railroad Industry Loved Modern Brakes And Safety, Until They Didn’t
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chair Jennifer Homendy concluded that the East Palestine, Ohio, rail disaster was “100% preventable.” The certainty of this statement raises the obvious question: Why did this happen? The answer was actually provided by one of Homendy’s predecessors at the NTSB. In 2014, speaking about the spate of oil train disasters that were occuring, NTSB chair Deborah Hersman told the Associated Press that, “We know the steps that will prevent or mitigate these accidents. What is missing is the will to require people to do so.” The NTSB has no enforcement capability, so its recommendations are often ignored by the rail industry.