WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator JD Vance (R-OH) questioned the CEO of Norfolk Southern, the Chairwoman of the NTSB, the CEO of the Association of American Railroads, and the Legislative Director of the Ohio SMART TD union during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
During Senator Vance’s exchange with the CEO of Norfolk Southern, Mr. Shaw agreed to support increases to the frequency of wayside bearing detectors and mandatory first responder notification requirements, both provisions in Senator Vance’s Railway Safety Act.
Watch the full exchange here:
Senator Vance: Mr. Shaw, I know that you have some disagreements about the precise distances necessary for wayside bearing detectors and so forth. But I wonder, could you commit to supporting a mandatory standard for hot bearing detectors? Even if not our specific limits, could you submit to supporting one in principle, assuming we can get the limits right in your view?
Mr. Shaw: Yes, Senator. I absolutely appreciate your leadership and Senator Brown’s leadership for the Railway Safety Act. As we’ve talked about, there are a number of provisions in your bill which we support, and it does include the wayside detectors. As you noted earlier, we’re not sure what the correct spacing is. It could be ten miles, or could be fifteen, could be seven. And I would support using science and research and whatever is the right number. We would space wayside detectors in that manner.
Senator Vance: Thank you. Would you commit to supporting mandatory first responder notification requirement, as we do in the bill?
Mr. Shaw: Yes, sir, I certainly would. I want to take the opportunity to thank the first responders from Ohio and West Virginia and Pennsylvania who showed the courage and the commitment to the community and rushed to the scene. And my appreciation for that is we just launched a regional first responder training facility in Ohio this week, and we have over 400 first responders who are signed up for it, including Chief Drabick and four of his commanders.
Senator Vance: Great. Thank you, Mr. Shaw.