The federal government said that it will take action this year that could eventually require Metra and other railroads to install inward-facing video cameras in locomotives.
The cameras would be focused on the engineers operating the trains, a step that some experts say could help in the event of accidents to determine whether there was dangerous behavior, like an engineer falling asleep, texting or otherwise being distracted, said the Chicago Tribune.
The National Transportation Safety Board, the federal agency in charge of investigating major rail accidents, has been recommending the installation of such cameras in locomotives for years, largely to no avail, said the Tribune.
The Federal Railroad Administration, which regulates the industry, said it would begin the process this year to implement the cameras, said the Tribune. "Safety is our number one priority, and we have been working on a potential rulemaking for the past six months regarding the use of cameras on locomotives," railroad administration spokesman Kevin Thompson said in a statement to the Tribune.
The process could take months or even years, the Tribune said, because the proposed rule first would have to come from a Federal Railroad Administration safety advisory committee. The agency also would have to open a public comment period in which railroads, unions and the public could weigh in on the proposal.
The decision would ultimately be up to agency Administrator Joseph Szabo.