Toll of railroads’ speed control lag: 150 crashes, 298 dead

For nearly 50 years, the National Transportation Safety Board has been pushing railroads to implement critical speed-control technology in trains. The agency says it could’ve prevented 150 crashes since 1970.

But despite the overwhelming evidence it could save lives, Congress extended the deadlines for railroads to implement positive train control.

All the while, new high-speed train routes continue to spring into operation without the technology. That includes the new route involved in Monday’s Amtrak crash south of Seattle that killed three people and one in Florida that’s expected to start service in the coming weeks.

Data provided to The Associated Press on Wednesday shows the crashes the NTSB says could’ve been prevented by positive train control have caused 298 deaths, 6,763 injuries and nearly $385 million in property damage.