If only there was some way to fix that… oh right, there is! No one wants to pay for it! Go read the whole thing, the Times did a very good job with this story:
On a summer afternoon in Southern California nine years ago, a commuter train blew through a stop signal and ran head-on into an oncoming freight train, killing 25 people.
After investigators determined that the crash could have been prevented by automatic-braking technology, Congress ordered all passenger railroads to install new systems by 2016. Since then, Congress has extended that deadline and trains have kept speeding into preventable disasters, including the Amtrak derailment that killed three people in Western Washington on Monday.
In Amtrak’s case, this is a recurring nightmare. The crash this week was eerily reminiscent of one just two years ago in Philadelphia, where an Amtrak train barreled into a sweeping curve at 106 miles an hour before jumping the tracks and rolling over. Eight people died.
That crash, too, could have been prevented by the technology, known as positive train control. But five months after it happened, Congress gave railroads at least three more years to install it.
“Here we are, almost 10 years later, and that deadline came and went,” said Kitty Higgins, a former member of the National Transportation Safety Board. “The railroads have been slow-walking it and it still is not implemented. It’s absolutely outrageous.”