For Immediate Release: July 29, 2016

New Rule Will Allow Passenger Railroads to Hide Evidence of Safety Flaws from the Public

Agency Should Change Course in Forthcoming Rule on Freight Railroads
Ben Somberg

Washington, DC— The following is a statement from American Association for Justice CEO Linda Lipsen in response to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issuing a “railroad system safety program” final rule:

“When a train strikes a vehicle at a crossing or a railroad worker is injured on the job, the victims have always had the right to investigate the incident through our civil courts, where they can expose safety flaws and hold the railroad accountable. But today the Federal Railroad Administration is giving passenger railroads permission to hide information about known safety problems from victims and the public.

“Congress authorized FRA to study this issue, but the agency outsourced its work to a defense-side law firm, which recommended this loophole. Other industries do not have the legal blessing to hide information from the public, and this move risks setting a dangerous precedent.

“When the FRA considers whether to include the same loophole in its forthcoming rule on freight railroads, it should keep transparency, safety, and the public’s interest firmly in mind.”


The American Association for Justice works to preserve the constitutional right to trial by jury and to make sure people have a fair chance to receive justice through the legal system when they are injured by the negligence or misconduct of others—even when it means taking on the most powerful corporations. Visit