Deadly Train Accident Could Have Been Prevented
Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Jun 02, 2016 in Train Accidents
According to investigators, the deadly Amtrak train accident last year that killed eight people and left 159 injured could have been prevented if safety hardware installed on the train had been turned on. Instead, seven months after the accident, Amtrak finally activated the Positive Train Control (PTC) system that could have reduced the speed of the train in 2015.
Positive Train Control is a system designed to slow or stop a train if a conductor does not set speed limits or obey train signals. It uses computers, GPS and other technology to track a train’s position and applies the brake when there is excessive speed or an imminent collision with another train, among other factors. It is preventive technology that could reduce the risk of deadly accidents like the Amtrak 188 crash.
PTC has been considered the most important rail safety development in more than a century, which is why law makers required railroad companies to install the system by the end of 2015.
However, in response to railroad company complaints that they did not have enough time to meet last year’s deadline for installing PTC on all of their trains and tracks, Congress extended the deadline for installation of PTC until 2018. In addition to the extension, railroads will also be able to ask for an additional two years to finish the job after the 2018 deadline.
Tragic Consequences of Delaying PTC
Although human error is thought to be the cause of this accident, PTC could have slowed the train to a safer speed or stopped it altogether prior to the deadly turn.
The train operator did not have drugs or alcohol in his system and there was no evidence of cell phone use at the time of the collision. Yet the train careened into the fatal turn at speeds more than twice the posted limit, leaving rail cars strewn about with the dead and injured.
This accident highlights the necessity of having fully operational PTC systems installed in trains as soon as possible to prevent unnecessary tragedies.
Commonly caused by human error, train accidents can have devastating effects on anyone involved. In addition to fatalities and serious injuries, investigations can be time consuming. If you were or lost a loved one in a train derailment or collision, contact the skilled train accident attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan right away and find out how they can pursue compensation for your losses.