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Safety standards must improve

Following another train crash, it is clear safety standards must improve.

An Amtrak train on Sunday was sent down a side rail spur and into a parked freight train. The crash killed two people and injured more than 100 passengers.

Investigations have been launched and sometime months or years from now a report will be produced. But authorities already know the crash could have been prevented. Use of a GPS-based system that knows the locations of all trains would have kept the Amtrak off the occupied rail spur.

“It could have avoided this accident. That’s what it’s designed to do,” said National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt.

Though regulators have demanded that a GPS-based system be used, railroads have gotten several extensions to a deadline to implement the program. The deadline for installing the system is now the end of the year.

Just last week,  a chartered Amtrak train carrying Republican members of Congress slammed into a garbage truck at a crossing where locals said the safety arms were down even when no trains approached, The Associated Press reported.  That accident in rural Virginia killed one person in the truck and injured six others.

And in December, an Amtrak train ran off the rails in Washington, killing three people and injuring dozens. It was going more than twice the allowed speed limit.

Trains are an integral part of Brookhaven, and always have been. An accident like those that occurred recently would be devastating to the city.

Safety standards must improve.

“Business as usual must end,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said after the latest crash.

We agree.