U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao urged the nation’s railroads and transit agencies to take all possible measures to meet deadlines to install a safety system called positive train control (PTC) to prevent crashes.
The system is designed to prevent derailments caused by excessive speed. Investigators have said several deadly U.S. train crashes in recent years could have been prevented if the system was in place.
In 2008, Congress mandated the implementation of PTC nationwide by the end of 2015, then extended that deadline until the end of 2018 when its installation became more complex than anticipated. The government can extend the deadline to 2020 to complete some aspects of the system.
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