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Lawmakers' plan would point cameras at train engineers

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NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 03: U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer attends Kaufman Astoria Studios First Backlot Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Kaufman Astoria Studios on December 3, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

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By The Associated Press
Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, 8:33 p.m.

NEW YORK — A week after four people died in a New York commuter train derailment, two federal lawmakers proposed on Sunday that trains nationwide be outfitted with cameras pointed at engineers and at the tracks.

“I know you're going to hear from Metro-North that there are costs, but the costs of these audio and visual recorders is minuscule, in fact negligible, compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars that this tragic incident will cost Metro-North in the end,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who joined Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., for a news conference in Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal.

On Dec. 1, a Metro-North Railroad train approached a curve on the tracks just north of Manhattan going at 82 mph instead of the speed limit of 30 mph. Rail cars careened off the tracks, with the front car ending up inches from the water where the Hudson River meets the Harlem River.

A lawyer and union leader for the derailed train's engineer, William Rockefeller, have said the train's hypnotic motion may have caused him to experience a “nod” or a “daze” at the controls.

The Democratic lawmakers are urging the Federal Railroad Administration to demand the implementation of a measure they say might prevent the kind of deadly Metro-North derailment that left dozens of people injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board recommended installation of recording cameras in locomotives and operating railway cabs five years ago.

The NTSB did not respond to a call on Sunday, nor did the railroad administration or the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that runs Metro-North.

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