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Senate bill could make railroad tracks safer in South Carolina

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COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) --- Senator Marlon Kimpson is waiting for a decision from a subcommittee that could make railroad tracks safer in South Carolina.

He’s proposing a measure that would require class one freight trains carrying hazardous chemicals and passenger trains to enact something called Positive Train Control. “I understand how important transportation is,” Kimpson said. “But it’s incumbent upon me and the state legislatures to make sure that we pass common-sense legislation to require rail safety.”

PTC is designed to automatically stop a train before collisions, derailments and other incidents caused by human error.

Congress voted to have the system implemented throughout the country by 2015, but the deadline keeps getting extended. “There’s no doubt if the railroad implemented PTC it would have saved lives in the Graniteville train crash years ago,” Kimpson said. “And it definitely would have saved lives in the Cayce train derailment.”

The NTSB indicated the same thing after February's deadly train crash in Cayce that injured more than one hundred people and killed two Amtrak workers.

Kimpson’s bill would implement fines of $2,500 per train, per month until rail companies meet the deadline. “If we don’t hold the railroads accountable to move swiftly to inactive this commonplace technology,” Kimpson said. “It will be ten years before they are forced to do it.” That proposal has been rescheduled for debate before the end of the legislative session.

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