An Amtrak train arrives at Union Station on May 18, 2015 in Washington.
Alex Wong—Getty Images
By Charlotte Alter
May 26, 2015

Amtrak said Tuesday it would install inward-facing cameras on locomotive cabs after a train derailment earlier this month killed 8 people and wounded about 200 others.

The cameras, which the National Transportation Safety Board has been recommending for years, would record the actions of train engineers and could help explain accidents like the one on May 12. Trains currently have black boxes and outward-facing cameras, but neither record the actions of the people driving the train. The NTSB has been recommending sound recorders in locomotive cabs since the 1990s, the Associated Press reports, and five years ago added that there should be video recorders as well. Amtrak will start by equipping 70 trains that service the Northeast Corridor, with 38 cameras installed by the end of the year.

Northeast Regional train 188 was speeding at 106 mph around a curve where the speed limit was 50 mph when it derailed. Brandon Bostian, the train’s engineer, has said through his lawyer that he has no recollection of the crash, possibly because of a concussion he sustained when he hit his head.

“Inward-facing video cameras will help improve safety and serve as a valuable investigative tool, ” Amtrak President & CEO Joe Boardman said in a statement. “We have tested these cameras and will begin installation as an additional measure to enhance safety.”

 

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