Last year, tragedy struck when an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, killing eight passengers and injuring 180 others. You may have read about the accident in our blog. The cause of the derailment remained speculative, but after a year of investigation we finally have an answer; on May 17, 2016, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a press release, naming the engineer’s loss of situational awareness and the track’s lack of positive train control as the causes of this disaster.
“Loss of situational awareness,” also known as “distraction.” In other words, the engineer became distracted by another train’s emergency, causing him to lose awareness of where his train was in relation to the curve where his train ultimately derailed; he should have slowed the train down to take that curve, but, because of his “loss of situational awareness,” he kept the train at more than twice the authorized speed. The NTSB attributes this accident to human error, and concludes that if the proper technology had been in place on that stretch of track, the derailment would not have occurred. Case closed.
This press release came on the heels of another Amtrak derailment that occurred last month, killing tworail workers and injuring over 30 passengers, and another Amtrak derailment that occurred in March. Perhaps it is time to take another look at railroad safety.
Our firm has experience representing derailment victims and victims of other train accidents, including an Amtrak derailment that claimed the lives of an elderly couple. If you or a loved one have been injured in this or any other derailment, please contact us. It is important to have an experienced attorney representing you in this type of complex accident.