D.C. Metro officials are coming under scrutiny from federal regulators after a train blew through a red stop signal during Wednesday morning rush-hour, marking the second violation by Metro train operators in July.
Officials say a yellow line train carrying passengers ran through the red signal at the end of the platform at the Reagan National Airport station. Regulators with the Federal Transit Administration, which currently oversees all Metro operations, are investigating the incident, reports WUSA9.
The operator involved in the safety violation is currently on administrative leave. Metro officials say there have been roughly 50 red signal violations since 2012. This is the second incident this month.
“Red signal overruns are a serious safety concern,” Steven Kulm, of the FTA, told WUSA9.
Metro officials are grappling with questions over safety in their tunnels after narrowly avoiding a disaster July 5. A train approaching the Glenmont Station ran a red signal, then entered a switch, which placed it on the same track as an oncoming train. (RELATED: Metro Officials Oddly Quiet After ‘Smoldering Debris Fire’ Injures Commuter)
Metro General Manger Paul Wiedefeld revealed July 8 it was a “near miss” collision that threatened the safety of passengers aboard both trains and workers in the tunnels. Wiedefeld fired the operator over the incident.
“The facts in this matter suggest a blatant disregard for safety that I find profoundly disturbing,” Wiedefeld said in a letter to employees obtain by WAMU. “We need to step back in this moment and understand what a fundamental change in safety culture requires of all of us. Safety is not a slogan. We hold the lives of people in our hands. Making a choice to ignore safety rules puts those lives at risk.”
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