‘Should Rail Risk Data Be Used in Trials?’ RTA Asks

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The Federal Railroad Administration is considering whether information collected to evaluate, plan or implement federally mandated railroad safety risk reduction programs should be withheld from discovery or use in trial, and requests public comment.

     The agency must implement risk reduction programs under the Rail Safety Improvement Act by Oct 16, 2012, for certain passenger and freight railroads. The programs would require the railroads to perform detailed analyses of the hazards and risks in the working environment, so they may develop processes to eliminate them.
     In the act, Congress noted that for these programs to be effective, the risk analyses must, subject to a few exceptions, be shielded from production in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.
     The Federal Railroad Administration requests input on whether it is in the public interest, including public safety and the legal rights of people injured in railroad accidents, to withhold the risk reports from discovery or use in litigation for personal injury or wrongful death against a carrier.
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