Gap Incidents Could Be Reported To The Federal Government

Gap incidents have been a nightmare for the Long Island Rail Road for many years. The nightmare’s intensity picked up in 2006 after the death of 18 year old Natalie Smead at the Woodside LIRR station. The Newsday launched an investigation into gap incidents after her death & have continued to follow the issue closely all this time. So no surprise they were the first to share the news of a possible change in federal policy. If a proposal takes effect, all 21 commuter railroads in the U.S. would have to report gap accidents to the Federal Railroad Administration. Jennifer Maloney has more in this report:

Commuter railroads across the country would have to report accidents in the gap — the space between the train and the station platform — to the Federal Railroad Administration under a proposed rule released Tuesday.

The proposal, which could be adopted next year and is in a public comment period until Nov. 10, would allow the railroad administration to monitor gap injuries and take steps to reduce them, the agency said.

A Newsday investigation spurred by the 2006 death of Natalie Smead, 18, at the Woodside Long Island Rail Road station found that the LIRR, its parent agency, and state and federal oversight officials had done little to address a problem that had injured hundreds of riders. Smead slipped through a gap, crawled under a platform and was struck by an oncoming train.

Although the railroad administration requires the country’s 21 commuter railroads to report bee stings and spider bites, it has never tracked accidents in which passengers slip into the gap.

Click here for the entire report.

I applaud Newsday for continuing their excellent work in tracking the progress of gap accidents & measures being taken to prevent them. However with that out of the way, I must ask the question. How can the federal government require commuter railroads to report bee stings & spider bites but not gap accidents? Call me crazy but wouldn’t common sense say that gap accidents are a more serious issue that could take away lives as compared to a bee sting or spider bite? I am absolutely floored at how ridiculous that sounds when I reread it. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised as the government has made a career out of ridiculous actions.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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