Freight Rail Policy Stance: In the 21st Century, freight railroads require a modernized approach to federal regulations that allows them to innovate with new technologies and processes for an even safer and more efficient rail network.
Why This Matters: The current regulatory approach is largely prescriptive and does not easily allow for the incorporation of the best technologies to improve safety and performance.
An increasingly technological freight rail industry is innovating to improve safety and efficiency.
Through private investment in future-focused solutions, the rail sector continues to set new safety benchmarks, including increasing employee safety and decreasing train accident rates and overall fatalities. Ensuring continued progress requires sensible operational regulations that do not impede industry transformation and innovation.
Policymakers should embrace performance-based regulations that hold railroads accountable for safety performance while also enabling and incentivizing railroads to develop safer, more efficient practices and technology. Lawmakers should also avoid one-size-fits-all policies that hinder modernization, including policies that mandate specific operating models, such as measures that mandate two people be in a locomotive cab at all times in the future. There is simply no safety justification for a crew size mandate, and these decisions are best handled through collective bargaining.