Letter to MTA Chairman Lhota Regarding Sleep Apnea Testing for Train Engineers

August 17, 2017

Joseph J. Lhota Chairman of MTA 347 Madison Ave. New York, NY 10017
Dear Chairman Lhota, The Federal Railroad Administration decided to abandon a push to mandate sleep apnea testing for train engineers. I have recently read that the MTA is going to continue a policy to test for Sleep Apnea for its engineers. I believe this policy is very important and can be a matter of life and death. Sleep Apnea is especially dangerous for engineers driving a train full of people as people with sleep apnea are five times more likely than normal sleepers to have traffic accidents. In 2013, a Metro North Hudson Line train was going twice the speed limit, derailed, killed four people and injured 60. Later the National Transportation Safety Board found the train’s engineer, William Rockefeller, suffered from undiagnosed sleep apnea. This crash is now referred to as the Spuyten Duyvil crash. Two of the people killed were my constituents, James M. Ferrari, 59, of Montrose and James G. Lovell, 58, of Cold Spring. Their lives could have been saved if Mr. Rockefeller had known about his Sleep Apnea and had treated it. Although one of the press accounts indicated that you were going to continue the sleep apnea testing program for engineers, and I hope that is the case. I would like confirmation from you that you are going to continue the testing program for the MTA-Metro North railroads. I look forward to your response.
Sincerely, photo Sandra R. Galef NYS Assemblywoman Assembly District 95