Transit Agencies' Injury, Fire Reporting Duties Increase

The Federal Transit Administration said Monday it has agreed to carve out exemptions from a more stringent injury threshold that requires transit agencies to file incident reports, and it also agreed not to require reporting of all fires that require suppression. The DOT agency proposed both for its 2008 National Transit Database Safety & Security Reporting Manual, but opposing comments caused it to backtrack. The manual is available at www.ntdprogram.gov.

The injury threshold up to now for filing an incident report was two or more injuries requiring immediate medical transportation away from the scene, or one or more injuries requiring immediate medical transportation away from the scene in the case of incidents at grade crossings or along rail rights-of-way. FTA proposed to make it one or more injuries requiring immediate medical transportation away from the scene. Three commenters said this would significantly increase the reporting burden for simple slips and falls, of which a transit agency may have dozens during a given month. FTA stuck with the single-injury threshold but agreed to exempt slips, falls, and electric shocks from it. Now, transit agencies will report the total number of injuries resulting from slips, falls, and electric shocks to transit customers, workers, and other people, which is the same as with the previous reporting requirement. FTA has raised the property damage threshold from $7,500 to $25,000, which is the threshold used by its State Safety Oversight Program.

As for fires, FTA dropped its proposal to require incident reports for all fires requiring suppression and instead will require reports only for fires that meet one of these threshold criteria: one or more fatalities; one or more injuries requiring immediate medical transportation away from the scene; property damage greater than or equal to $25,000; or an evacuation for life safety reasons. Fires that don't meet one of those criteria will be reported in a summary total each month.

More than 650 transit agencies report to the National Transit Database using an online reporting system. Congress created NTD, which is FTA's primary database for statistics on the transit industry. The agency said the changes made in the Monday will cause some difficulty in assembling continuous data on the total number of major transit incidents, but it hopes to assemble a continuous data series from 2002 onward based on previously filed major incident reports.

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