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Calls For Rail-Crossing Safety Increase Following NTSB Report

The scene at Commerce Street following the deadly train crash.
The scene at Commerce Street following the deadly train crash. Photo Credit: Jon Craig

Officials throughout Westchester are hoping the National Transportation Safety Review Board's recommendations in the wake of the deadly train crash will prevent a future accident.

The NTSB delivered its report on the Feb. 2015 Metro-North train crash that killed six people and injured 15 on Tuesday, determining Ellen Brody, who drove onto the tracks at the Commerce Street crossing, was mainly at fault.

Investigators said they were unable to determine why Brody drove her car onto the train tracks despite warning signs indicating a train was approaching.

As part of their report, the NTSB recommended closing the Commerce Street crossing as well as a risk analysis of grade crossings and use of the third-rail throughout the Metro-North rail system.

"I urge Metro-North to conduct the recommended assessment and implement corrective actions as quickly as possible to ensure the safety of rail passengers," commuters, and drivers and passengers on our roadways," Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-Harrison) said. My thoughts and prayers remain with the victims of this accident and their families.”

Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-White Plains) lost four residents in his district from the train crash.

"Metro-North and the New York State DOT should unequivocally commit to implementing the NTSB's safety recommendations on as expeditious a schedule as feasible,” said Buchwald. “The NTSB determinations are a sobering reminder of the need to constantly monitor our at-grade rail crossing safety warning systems, and vigorously enforce rail crossing safety laws. Furthermore, we must continue to educate the public about rail crossing safety and make sure our law enforcement agencies are strictly enforcing our rail crossing safety laws.”

Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland) and Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (D-Greenburgh) renewed their call for rail safety improvements

"That process has not started and the rulings from the NTSB make clear that there are real safety risks for train riders. We must do everything in our power to make sure that we keep riders, drivers and pedestrians safe at all times," said Carlucci.

Abinanti called for a comprehensive evaluation of railroad crossings, saying it will go a long way to protect the health and safety of New Yorkers.

Also killed in the collision were: Bedford Hills residents Eric Vandercar, 53, and Walter Liedtke, 69; New Castle residents Robert Dirks, 36, and Joseph Nadol, 42; and Aditya Tomar, 41, of Danbury, Conn.

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