TX Regulator Lies to Help Railroads
Some regulatory agencies view their mission as "serving" a regulated industry rather than policing it. Cozy relationships between regulators and the regulated invite abuse. Agencies should help businesses understand and obey the law, but Darin Kosmak, the Texas official who safeguards rail crossings, "served" the railroads in a way that betrayed his responsibility to Texas motorists.
At the behest of the rail industry, Mr. Kosmak on about 100 occasions over the last 11 years signed sworn statements about warning signs at railroad crossings, according to court testimony. The affidavits were mostly drafted by the rail industry, which then used them in case after case as a critical defense against claims that unsafe crossings had caused deaths and serious injury, court records show.
Kosmak now admits that he didn't know whether the affidavits were true when he signed them. But hey, why bother reading an accident report or visiting the scene? The railroad conducted an investigation and it wouldn't lie, would it? The railroads disclaim responsibility for the 5,000 victims of crossing accidents in the last 20 years, so why read their affidavits with a skeptical eye?
Kosmak testified that many in the rail industry "would consider me their friend." No doubt they would. Kosmak is the kind of friendly regulator who cares more about his future in the regulated indistry than the public he's charged with protecting
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