Dent introduces provision for inward-facing cameras on Amtrak trains

With the memory of the accident involving Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188  in Pennsylvania still fresh, U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) introduced an amendment to fund the installation of inward-facing cameras in the engine cabs of all Amtrak trains on Friday. 

The cameras will be a useful tool in determining the cause of crashes in the future.

“In the wake of the tragic accident in Philadelphia, I felt it was important to increase funding for Amtrak to make needed safety investments, particularly the installation of inward-facing cameras,” Dent said. “The type of information received from these cameras will be an important tool for accident investigators. They could provide vital information regarding whether or not human error was the cause of a derailment and inform what preventative measures will need to be taken in the future.”

The amendment would attach to H.R. 2577, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016. The legislation is currently under debate in the House, awaiting a vote.

“I am grateful for the support of my colleagues for my amendment, and I will continue to work to make certain that Amtrak has the support it needs to ensure all of its passengers are safe,” Dent concluded.

Fellow Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), spoke up during the debate, voicing his strong approval of inward-facing cameras for commuter trains.

“The tragic Amtrak accident took the lives of eight individuals and injured over 200 – including injuring two of my constituents with whom I had been meeting earlier in the day in Washington,” Lance said. “Inward-facing cameras are an appropriate step in modernizing train safety transportation.”

Essentially, Dent’s amendment allocates up to a $9 million increase for Amtrak’s capital grants funding, allowing for the installation of the necessary camera equipment.

“The National Transportation Safety Board has been advocating for this simple and relatively inexpensive reform for years, and I thank Congressman Dent for taking the lead on this reform in Congress,” Lance added. “We should equip Amtrak trains with this important piece of safety equipment.”