HOBOKEN - New Jersey Transit’s history of safety violations put it under federal investigation even before last week’s crash in Hoboken. 

A source confirms that the Federal Railroad Administration had begun an in-depth audit of the railroad in June because of what the agency considered a lack of leadership and an alarming number of safety violations.

Public records show from 2011 through 2015, the FRA issued 183 separate violations to NJ Transit. Among them were 38 violations of railroad operating rules or practices, and 32 violations for alcohol and drug use.

NJ Transit settled those violations for $519,280, the records show.

“Safety is non-negotiable,” Assemblyman John McKeon (D – West Orange) tells Kane In Your Corner. “That's an outrage. And we really need people that are responsible to answer for it.” McKeon is calling on federal and state railroad officials to fully release everything they have on safety problems at NJ Transit, and whether they’ve been fully corrected.   

Federal railroad data also shows that over the past five years, NJ Transit’s accident rate has been much higher than other commuter railroads in this area.

NJ Transit has had 157 accidents since 2011, which equates to 2.83 accidents per million miles traveled.

That’s nearly double the accident rate at Metro-North (1.47 accidents per million miles), more than twice the accident rate at SEPTA (1.25) and nearly triple the rate at the Long Island Rail Road (1.04).   

Kane In Your Corner sought comment from NJ Transit on the agency’s accident and safety history, as well as the FRA audit. The railroad did not respond.