State Rep. David Perryman (D-Chickasha) has filed legislation to help protect the public from railroad-related accidents in Oklahoma.
House Bill 2874, currently pending in the House Transportation Committee would require all freight trains running in Oklahoma to be operated by a crew that consists of at least two people.
Federal law used to mandate two-person crews on freight trains, but a recent rule change by the Federal Railroad Administration omitted the requirement.
“A freight train weighs between 3,000 to 18,000 tons depending on what it is hauling,” Perryman said. “That is a lot of weight moving at a high speed across the state and through our communities. That is compounded by the fact that so much of the freight hauled in Oklahoma is combustible or caustic in nature.
“Having a second person aboard is essential to ensure the safety of rail movements and respond to emergencies when they occur. It could be the difference in preventing a bad situation or preventing a bad situation from turning into a local catastrophe.
“The elimination of the nationwide rule is a clear signal that the federal government wants the states to take care of this issue,” Perryman said, “And we should.”