Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Do you know....

...That while the us airlines are required to meet very stringent interior flammability requirements to enhance occupant survival, there are no such regulations for buses or rail cars? From my background in maintaining & modifying transport category aircraft I have no problem with anything that helps anyone (child, adult, handicapped, etc) survive an accident. To me this was government oversight at it's best because as an airline, this stuff doesn't make any money except as a sales tool (Check a Volvo commercial for advertising pro activity). All it does is add weight and make maintenance more difficult but it forced the airlines to adopt standards that, at least in my opinion , have been a factor in saving lives in several accidents over the last 10 years. Most recently demonstrated by the Continental crash in Denver earlier this month. The caption to this picture from the Federal Railroad Administration is:

"Instrumented Anthropomorphic Test Devices (“crash dummies”) are used to develop improved occupant protection strategies in passenger rail cars.
The Train Occupant Protection Program will carry out research on structural crashworthiness and interior safety of locomotives and in intercity and commuter rail cars, in addition to improve the survivability of rail passengers and crewmembers in accidents. It also addresses system safety and fire protection issues. The goal of this research program is to promote and improve the safety of the national passenger rail transportation system."

Okay, all well and good. Why now.....Why isn't rail, bus, ship, ferry passenger transportation as overseen as much as air transport. The size of the transport vehicle or the medium in which it operates should not be what drives the oversight for passenger safety. The "Sunset Limited" didn't burn but after the recent "ditching" in the Hudson River demonstrated the relevant issue is "crashworthiness" of the vehicle and it applies to all vehicles.

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