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Amtrak Train Didn't Use Safety Tech That Could've Prevented Crash

Officials say Positive Train Control could have prevented the deadly Amtrak crash in Washington state.
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Amtrak Train Didn't Use Safety Tech That Could've Prevented Crash

Officials say an Amtrak train that went off the tracks in Washington state wasn't using safety technology that could've helped prevent the crash.

Amtrak's president and CEO confirmed Positive Train Control, or PTC, wasn't activated when the train derailed over a major highway Monday morning.

PTC is designed to automatically slow down or stop a train before certain accidents occur — including derailments caused by excessive speed.

Back in 2008, Congress gave Amtrak and other rail companies until the end of 2015 to install PTC systems.

But the rollout was put on the back burner thanks to the technology's hefty price tag — an estimated $22.5 billion over 20 years.

So Congress extended the deadline to the end of 2018, with the possibility for two additional years if certain requirements are met.

But as of December 2016, PTC was operational on only 16 percent of freight railroad tracks and 24 percent of passenger railroad tracks, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.

Monday's derailment left three people dead and dozens of others injured. Officials said the train was traveling more than 50 miles per hour over the speed limit when it crashed.