Legislators Introduce Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act

The bill would require U.S. transit-rail agencies to develop a rail operations worker assault risk reduction program within the next two years. Agencies would be required to conduct a risk analysis of assaults on rail employees, cooperate with labor representatives to develop their plans, and implement a plan to mitigate rail worker assaults.

U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano, U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, and U.S. Rep. John Katko have introduced the Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act (H.R. 1139). The bill is an effort to protect transit workers and increase public safety.

"The men and women who work as transit operators across our county deserve a safe work environment – but far too often, that is not guaranteed," Van Hollen said. "This legislation will lay out the changes needed to make this a reality and put a down payment on making it happen. It will improve our transportation systems for both passengers and employees."

According to Progressive Railroading magazine, the bill would require U.S. transit rail systems to develop a rail operations worker assault risk reduction program within the next two years. Systems would be required to conduct a risk analysis of assaults on rail employees, including operators and station staff, cooperate with labor representatives to develop their plans, and implement a plan to mitigate rail worker assaults.

The bill also would require bus transit authorities to partner with their transit workforce to develop an operations safety risk reduction program, with oversight from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Other safety improvements would include de-escalation training for bus drivers and assault mitigation infrastructure and technology such as barriers to prevent assault on drivers. All agencies would be required to report every assault on transit workers to DOT's national transit database.

"Assaults on transit workers, whether physical or verbal, cannot be tolerated, and we must do all we can to put an end to them. Such attacks, which have become too commonplace throughout the country," Napolitano said in a news release. "Our legislation aims to prevent assaults, further increase public safety by eliminating dangerous and unnecessary blind spots, and provide additional upgrades to the transportation systems in our communities."

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