Following a federal investigation into a fatal New York metro train derailment, regulators have issued a series of recommendations to help improve public safety on the Metro lines.
According to news reports, the recommendations stemmed from a December commuter train crash in the Bronx that killed four and injured 70 more.
Our New York City personal injury attorneys note that among the recommendations, authorities have called for posted speed limit signs along the tracks, as well as the installation of audio and video recorders on each train.
A New Yorker utilizing the city’s public transportation options should have confidence that the facilities are safe. Unfortunately, accidents involving public transportation in New York are fairly common, from Metro bus crashes to subway injuries.
In the case of the deadly crash in the Bronx, officials with the National Transportation Safety Board are still investigating, but there is some evidence that the conductor may have fallen asleep at the helm.
In addition, the crash occurred at a sharp curve where the speed limit was 30 miles per hour. However, there was no posted sign prior to the turn. The train was reportedly traveling 82 miles per hour at the time it hit that curve. Officials have since installed a speed limit sign at that location.
However, for most Metro-North tracks, speeds are posted only where they are temporarily restricted.
Federal authorities acknowledge that in this case, a speed limit sign may have done little to prevent the crash. However, it could potentially help remind conductors in the future to regularly check to make sure they are operating within safe speeding guidelines.
The recorders, meanwhile, would be of great assistance to investigators attempting to determine the cause of crashes after the fact. Plus, they could be used to routinely monitor the driving practices of those behind the wheel. It may serve as an incentive to keep drivers abiding by federal and state rules, as well as internal safety policies.
Surveillance footage of the crash from the nearby Hudson Bridge reportedly did little to expand investigators’ knowledge of what actually occurred. The images were grainy and difficult to make out.
The board noted that it has several times called for the Federal Railroad Administration to make recording devices mandatory in public trains, but the agency has dragged its feet on making them a requirement.
State legislators have urged the federal regulator not to let this crash go without notice or action. Using it as a launching point from which to improve safety and prevent future accidents will ensure those who died will not have been lost in vain.
It’s also possible that the operators of Metro-North could install them before they are ever formally required. Any FRA action could take years to officially implement anyway.
In Congress, there have been proposals made too that would require automatic braking technology a requirement on every rail line.
The Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC offers free consultations. Call 1-877-313-7673.
Metro-North train crash: NTSB recommends safety improvement, Feb. 18, 2014, Staff Report, Associated Press
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