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CASUALTIES TO EMPLOYEES ON DUTY, RAILWAYS OF ALL CLASSES, 1961-67
Mr. FRIEDEL. Mr. Nelsen.
The figures on page 2 indicate that the study you have made refers to your railroad.
How do the figures that you have here compare to the overall performance of all railroads?
Mr. Daulton. Well, at one point I mentioned that the total railroad casualty ratio had gone from 11.98 to 12.01 in the 1961–67 period, an increase of .03 or three one-hundredths of 1 percent.
Mr. NELSEN. In other words, your record is better than the national average. Is that true?
Mr. DAULTON. I think that our record is better, sir. Mr. NELSEN. Now, on page 4 reference is made to the $750 figure. How was that figure arrived at? Were there hearings regarding it or how was that established ?
Mr. Daulton. That was a figure established by the Interstate Commerce Commission.
Mr. NELSEN. Now, on page 7, you state that "the railroads were accorded a 72-hour period for reporting an employee's injury.” It was then changed to 24 hours. Now how was that changed and why?
Mr. DAULTON. That was also set by the Interstate Commerce Commission.
Mr. NELSEN. Now, as to the program you have on traffic safety, do other railroads practice the same type of care and attention to safety? Do they have similar programs as those you mentioned on page 15?
You mentioned, for instance, what you have been doing in the way of safety awards and attention to safety generally. Mr. Daulton. To my knowledge, sir, they do.
Mr. NELSEN. I note your analysis of some of the statements that were made by the proponents and, without questioning whether the analyses are fair in every respect, would not this proposed bill create in the industry a greater attention to the overall safety program of all the railroads of the country?
Mr. Daulton. I don't believe that legislation creates safety, sir. We have all sorts of traffic laws now and people still run red lights and speed and ignore that legislation.
Mr. NELSEN. Several have mentioned the use of radio as a more efficient way of communication by the persons working on the rail
road. How would this improve efficiency and would it improve efficiency between the workers on the roads?
Mr. Daulton. Well, the use of radio provides more accurate information and it speeds up operations.
Mr. FRIEDEL. I think the testimony was that they didn't feel that radio went far enough, they would like to see it supplemented.
Mr. NELSEN. I was about to suggest in another question, would it improve it by expanding the use of it?
Mr. DAULTON. Would expanded use of radio improve safety?
Mr. ROGERS. I have no questions, Mr. Chairman, but I appreciate very much the statement and the facts that you have brought before the committee.
Thank you very much.
Mr. KUYKENDALL. I would like to welcome the representative of a rather prominent Tennessee industry. If I may go off the record for just a moment.
(Discussion off the record.)
Mr. KUYKENDALL. I am also reminded that it is quoted in the Bible that the devil quotes scripture for his own purposes.
In the examination of a roadbed, and the reason I am referring to the roadbed is that this is the place I find pretty common agreement between management and labor that this is one of our continuous problems, to what extent are you using cars with scientific and electrical equipment to inspect the roadbed as opposed to visual judgment on the part of the employees?
Mr. DAULTON. Sir, we use what is called a Sperry car which is electronic inspection of rails regularly. In fact, we just had this spring on our railroad and also we have our own detection equipment which is used regularly to inspect rails, frogs, switches, and so on.
Mr. KUYKENDALL. If you could give me an opinion about which judgment has veto over the other, the simple judgment of the experienced railroad lineworker as to whether a repair needs to be done or the electronic judgment of this gadget.
Mr. DAULTON. Well, an ordinary worker can't see flaws that are inside the rail which the electronic equipment does detect.
Mr. KUYKENDALL. I don't know what particular table but in the tables that were put out I believe by the gentleman from the Department of Transportation it showed a breakdown of all areas at fault in accidents and it listed faulty material, faulty maintenance, fault of employees.
I would assume that fault of material either was there when you bought it, or occurred. That is the type of thing that would be revealed by this electronic equipment, is this correct? Mr. DAULTON. It would be.
Mr. KUYKENDALL. Is this a more prevalent cause of these sometimes horrible line accidents or is it, let's say, the jarring loose of spikes or
the spreading of a rail, or the cause of water washing out of a bed or something like that.
Which seems to be the more prevalent type accident in the roadbed, the type where the actual steel in the rail gives way or the maintenance part of it, the bed gives away!
Mr. DAULTON. Sir, in my opinion, car failures cause more derailments than track failures.
Mr. KUYKENDALL. All right.
This has not been suggested in our testimony before. I am glad to hear you mention it. I have discussed this thing with the brotherhoods and one of the things I am leading up to is that, if it does evolve that more training for inspection crews is necessary I think we should all know this.
When was the $750 figure set?
Mr. KUYKENDALL. I am a little bit surprised that you gentlemen from management have not mentioned the inflation factor in the $750 figure as it would affect these statistics. I think you missed a bet there.
Now, in the matter of radios, I believe the gentleman from the brotherhoods mentioned that there are geological reasons for malfunctioning of radios. I know that there are radios of types that can overcome this. I can't believe that modern electronics is not better for real warning than-I am not necessarily saying to replace but I would say better than—the warning of a man with a flag. If the radio won't work I think you had better
get another radio.
Mr. Daulton, I too want to commend you for your statement and welcome you to our committee as a citizen of our State. To me this is a rather simple thing if the statistics we have heard so far are correct and I want to ask you if they are.
As you know, we have heard a lot of different kinds of statistics given here already, but isn't it true that the majority of the causes of the railroad accidents now are for nonregulated causes rather than from regulated causes?
Mr. DAULTON. Let's see if I understand you correctly.
Mr. BLANTON. Is it that simple? We have some Federal regulations on the railroad equipment, the locomotives, but isn't it true that the cause of the majority of the accidents now is because of nonregulated equipment according to your statistics and the others that we have been presented ?
Mr. Daulton. I suppose you could say that, sir. The quality or type of rail is not regulated and the type of truck or wheel is not regulated.
Mr. BLANTON. I am not saying that Federal regulation does prevent accidents but I just wanted to point out the fact that it is caused by nonregulated equipment at the present time.
Of course, I know L. & N. has had a very good safety record. I am not sure about these last four wrecks that happened in the last 6 weeks but I noted that all four of these were caused by nonregulated equipment. One wreck I believe cost about $1 million, is that true?
Mr. DAULTON. I wouldn't be surprised.
Mr. BLANTON. That is the only point that I wanted to make.
Let me ask you one other question. I am in agreement with you that I don't think regulation is the total way to prevent accidents but wouldn't it seem to you that possibly there should be some steps made in regulating this equipment since it is the major cause of our accidents on railroads now?
Mr. DAULTON. Well, I am a great believer in a consensus method of arriving at a standard and I think that if there is to be any sort of regulation then the equipment manufacturers, the users, and the regulatory people should sit down and work out the standard rather than having somebody say, “This is an arbitrary standard. Now live by it."
Mr. BLANTON. Certainly there has to be some expertise in deciding the standard for this. We couldn't take a layman to decide the standards.
Would you suggest that in this piece of legislation that maybe we should set out who the experts should be to set the standards.
Mr. DAULTON. I think it would be desirable.
Mr. SKUBITZ. I was quite interested in your statement, Mr. Daulton, on page 3 at the bottom of the page there, "safety is basically a matter of life and limb, and 'train accidents as such are obviously a poor guide to what is happening in the area of railroad safety."
Just what do you mean by that?
One day last week here in Washington there were two carloads of beer on a siding. During the night somebody went in and let the handbrakes off those two cars. They rolled down about 7 miles and it was estimated that, by the time they struck the underpass, they were going 45 miles an hour. Those cars were badly damaged. The beer was torn up and broken up. Now, that will be reported by the railroad as a train accident. There was no railroad employee involved. There was no locomotive involved. It was some outside persons who came in and let the handbrakes off.
Mr. SKUBITZ. This is a deliberate act of an individual that caused the accident.
Mr. DAULTON. That is right.
Mr. DAULTON. Now, what we are talking about in safety is how many men's lives do you save, how many men do you keep from getting hurt, and train accidents don't always, in fact very very seldom do they result in an injury or death.
Mr. SKUBITZ. Would you say there isn't a relationship then at all between train accidents and the safety equipment on the train?
Mr. DAULTON. There is a relationship, yes. Mr. SKUBITZ. Well, is there a great relationship or not? Mr. DaULTON. I don't think it is an overriding relationship. Mr. SKUBITZ. Do you think then that because of the fact that a train perhaps would be derailed once every 2 weeks, putting it on that basis, because of roadbeds or defects in cars with nobody injured, that we should do nothing about safety factors then?
Mr. DAULTON. Well, sir, if that happens to the railroad or the railroads it certainly costs them money and I think that they themselves would try to do something about it.
Mr. SKUBITZ. I would think so too but apparently according to some of the statistics we have received the accident rate keeps going up and up. Which guideline do you think would be the best. If you were not representing the railroad and were a member of this staff, what guideline would you offer this staff to follow in determining whether we should do something about these accidents!
Mr. DAULTON. I would use the guideline of lives and limbs.
Mr. SKUBITZ. I am sorry I didn't have time to read your whole statement.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Springer has some questions. In the meantime, I would like to ask one question.
Are there any overall figures as to what the railroads themselves paid out in dollars and cents for traffic accidents?
Mr. DAULTON. You mean grade-crossing accidents, sir?
Mr. DAULTON. I would suppose there are, but I don't have them. I would imagine in their annual reports to the Interstate Commerce Commission such figures are included on one of the tables.
Mr. FRIEDEL. Do you have any questions, Mr. Skubitz.
Mr. SKUBITZ. In examining your roadbed just how do you do that? Do you have a trainmaster or someone that covers so many miles a day to examine the roadbeds?
Mr. DAULTON. Well, the trainmaster is not an engineer, a civil engineer. He is not qualified.
Mr. SKUBITZ. Who does the job?
Mr. DAULTON. In the engineering department you have different categories of people. Different railroads call them different things, but I can speak, of course, for the L. & N. We have what we call a division engineer who is the top engineer, a civil engineer, on his territory. Under him he will have an assistant and then we have what are called roadmasters. They have a certain number of miles. Under the roadmaster is the track supervisor.
Mr. SKUBITZ. How many miles does the road supervisor cover!
Mr. DAULTON. The size of the division, the density of traffic governs the amount of territory assigned.
Mr. SKUBITZ. What is the rule of thumb!
Mr. DAULTON. A track supervisor is supposed to go over his track at least every other day.
Mr. FRIEDEL. I want to thank you, Mr. Daulton.