'First-of-their-kind' rail safety rules passed in California: Utilities commission

Radio communication, speed restrictions, warning flags among new requirements

San Fransisco (AP) The California Public Utilities Commission has approved new safety regulations for transit agencies' rail workers that are believed to be the first of their kind in the nation.

The CPUC unanimously passed the new rules on Oct. 31, less than two weeks after two Bay Area Rapid Transit workers were killed while working on tracks during the agency's second worker strike since July.

The new rules include mandatory three-way radio communication between wayside workers, train operators and central command. The parties also must confirm their locations, safety protections being used, and implementation of those protective measures before a train enters a work area.

Train speed restrictions and warning flags will also be required in work areas.

The CPUC began discussing safety rule changes following BART's last worker death in 2008.

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