Attorney Alert: More Information on the Washington DC Metro Train Accident.
Metrolink Lawyer Train Accident Safety Alert: "Blame the train engineer" has been a favorite response by the train industry and the NTSB over the last 20 years when train accidents cause property damage, personal injury and death. The truth is that the train industry, as a result of prior accidents and litigation, has known for decades that it is impossible for train operators to be attentive all the time. Train operator fatigue, sleep-apnea, medication, reduced visibility, distractions have cause almost all of the train collisions involving death or injury. The real question our accident lawyers are asking as a result of the Metrolink train accident is what the commuter train industry in California has done to reduce accidents? The unfortunate answer is that the train industry, including Metrolink lawyers and executives, have done almost nothing, despite attempts by the NTSB and Congress to take the act of avoiding train crashes out of the hands of engineers. Read more about what our lawyers who are investigating the Metrolink train crash in California have discovered ......
Other Metrolink / Veolia Resources - Metrolink Lawyers: What Should You Look For in a Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Metrolink Lawyer?
Positive Train Control (PTC) systems are integrated command, control, communications, and information systems for controlling train movements independent of engineer command or train inputs. PTC is an electronic fail-safe system that will slow down or stop a train that's moving too fast or going somewhere it shouldn't - including toward an oncoming train. It essentially takes over the controls when an engineer is distracted or unable to operate the train.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has named PTC as one of its "most-wanted" initiatives for national transportation safety. The NTSB has been recommending PTS systems for trains since as early as 1990, over 20 years ago. After 15 of fighting the railroad industry over the importance of this technology, the NTSB found that contributing to the cause of an April 23, 2002 train accident "was the absence of a positive train control system that would have automatically stopped the freight train short of the stop signal..." THe NTSB again recommended PTC in 2005 after a train industry symposium on the issue when NTSB Director Chipkevich testified before Congress:
In the past 6 years, the NTSB has investigated 38 railroad accidents where Positive Train Control is a safety issue. Causal factors have often been attributed to train crew mistakes and failure to operate trains in accordance with operating rules. Human factor causes have included fatigue, sleep-apnea, use of medication, reduced visibility and distractions such as cell phone use.
Metrolink train 111 did not have a PTC system. Such a system would have precluded this accident from happening, saved 26 lives of Californians commuting by pulbic rail and saved hundreds of Californians from being injured. So why has Metrolink refused to implement such a system, and tried to block Congress for launching initiates for PTC? In 200, another Metrolink train crashed due to crew inattentiveness.
PTC systems will improve railroad safety by significantly reducing the probability of collisions between trains, casualties to roadway workers and damage to their equipment, and over speed accidents in high risk corridors such as the Chatsworth curve where Metrolink 111 crashed head-on into a Union pacific train. PTC systems are comprised of digital data link communications networks, continuous and accurate positioning systems such as NDGPS, on-board computers with digitized maps on locomotives and maintenance-of-way equipment, in-cab displays, throttle-brake interfaces on locomotives, wayside interface units at switches and wayside detectors, and control center computers and displays.
A check of local California trains reveals that the Coaster commuter train line from Oceanside to San Diego has an emergency system that stops trains if the engineer fails to stop for a red light. It's not the computer-based positive train control system that has gotten publicity since Friday's deadly Metrolink crash in Los Angeles. But the North County Transit District said a mechanical system is in place along the 41-mile San Diego Coast Express Rail line. District spokesman Tom Kelleher said the system will stop the train automatically if the engineer fails to stop at a red stop signal.Federal investigators said preliminary indications show a Metrolink engineer ran a red light and crashed his commuter train into a freight train, killing at least 25 people.
While some may simply attribute the Metrolink train crash to an accident caused by cell phone use by the engineer, Traverse Legal's lawyers will establish that the cause of this train disaster is more complex, and involves a long history of regulatory action and inaction at the state and federal level. As noted by the NTSB above, cell phone use is also known problem, with over 90% of all train accidents attributable to human error. Given this fact, why did the train industry oppose implementation of a PTC system which eliminate the 'human factor' of distraction as the leading cause of fatal train wrecks?
Resources for Attorneys & Their Train Injury Clients:
- Video of sample PTC System in Operation