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What's Next After NTSB Hearing Concludes

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By Matt Bush

The hearing may be over, but the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation into last June's Metro crash is far from done.

The NTSB's final report is not expected until the summer. It will undoubtedly include comments on Metro's safety culture, since that topic dominated the hearing. Jackie Jeter, head of the union that represents Metro workers, says employees are afraid to report safety problems because of fear of reprisal by management.

"It's not something that happened because of this or because of the last accident that occurred. It's something that happened over time, and it's something we have to change," says Jeter.

Robert Sumwalt of the NTSB wouldn't say if that's the case at Metro.

"We do know that an important part of any safety culture is having a system, a culture, where people can report issues and errors without feeling there will be retribution," says Sumwalt.

While the NTSB isn't placing blame yet, some family members of victims are. Kenneth Hawkins' brother Dennis died in the crash. He says Metro isn't the only one at fault. It's riders too.

"Because it's a necessity for us as a public. As long as it continues to meet our needs, we accept whatever happens, and just move on to the next incident," says Hawkins.

Hawkins says without changes at Metro, he thinks another accident will occur like the one that killed his brother.


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