JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There are 83 accidents around the country where a federal investigation is being delayed due to the partial government shutdown.
Because most of its staff is furloughed, the National Transportation Safety Board is not beginning new investigations and is not updating cases that were already underway.
On NTSB's website, a message reads: "Due to a lapse in appropriations and government shutdown, the website will no longer be updated."
An NTSB spokesman told News4Jax that 93 percent of the staff is furloughed and the other 7 percent is working without pay.
The NTSB plays a critical role in investigating and determining the probable cause of any incident that results in significant loss of life or physical damage, or that involves civil aviation, railroad, marine or pipeline accidents. The board can issue safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents.
Federal investigators are not looking into Jan. 3's fiery wreck on Interstate 75 near Gainesville that killed five children from Louisiana headed to Disney World, along with two truck drivers.
An example of an NTSB investigation that was not completed before the shutdown was the March 2018 Florida International University pedestrian bridge collapse in Miami-Dade County that resulted in six deaths. The NTSB said it will update its information on the website once employees return to work and the shutdown is over.
The NTSB spokesperson told News4Jax that Sunday night's derailment of CSX rail cars into Cedar Creek on Jacksonville's Northside did not fit the criteria for an NTSB investigation, regardless of the shutdown.