According to a story on BusinessInsurance.com, the Bush administration is planning another dose of tort reform via executive order, before it turns over the keys to the White House. The rule was published in the Federal Register in November and is scheduled to take effect December 26, 2008. Merry Christmas indeed.
The Christmas present is from the administration to its friends in the Railroad Industry. The regulation gives Railroad Companies immunity from state tort lawsuits. The Bush administration has signed numerous executive orders based on the idea that state tort lawsuits are pre-empted by federal law. This is yet another one of those orders.
Statistics show that in the United States, a railroad accident occurs almost every two hours, in which a vehicle or pedestrian is struck by a train. There were over 13,000 such accidents in 2007. Over 800 deaths were recorded that year and nearly 9,000 non-fatal injuries.
Over the past 12 years, the Railroad Industry has given an average of 73% of their contributions to Republicans (according to Opensecrets.org). The administration is paying off one of the industries that helped to elect it. This is politics at its worst.