~~ Rule Will Make Kansas 9th State in Country with Strengthened Safety Requirements~~
Governor Kelly announced that, to improve safety for workers and Kansas communities, she has directed the Kansas Department of Transportation to propose a rule requiring railroads operating in Kansas to have at least two railroad crew members in the lead locomotive. When the rule is officially promulgated, Kansas will become the ninth state in the country with this safety requirement.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, Kansas is in the top 25 states for highway-rail grade crossing collisions, resulting in five deaths and 14 injuries in 2022 alone. Derailments resulted in nearly $10 million in damage in 2022.
“Railroads across the country have faced issues ranging from crew member fatigue to derailments, all of which pose a threat to Kansans’ safety and security,” Governor Kelly said. “Requiring a two-person crew is a commonsense, necessary measure to protect our state’s railroad crew members and keep every community along the tracks safe.”
Before the regulation takes effect, it will be subject to at least a 60-day public comment period. Organizations including the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) have supported this rule.
“This is the proudest day of my career,” said SMART Transportation Division Kansas State Legislative Director Ty Dragoo. “I’m eternally grateful to my team as well as Governor Kelly, Attorney General Kobach, and their staffs for safeguarding our members and the public through the work they have done on this regulation.”
The majority of railroads in Kansas are currently operating two-person crews and will have no increased labor costs from the implementation of this regulation.