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Train Safety On Metro North Is At An All Time Low

December 3, 2013
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Train Safety on Metro North is at an all time low. The train accident and derailments are avoidable. Our New York commuter train and subway accident attorneys have represented thousands of people who sustain serious personal injuries in all types of accidents. Metro North must be held accountable for the Derailment Crash that killed four and injured 60 or more on December 1, 2013. Wrongful death suits are proper after the tragic death of a loved one. Our White Plains commuter train and subway accident attorneys have extensive experience in analyzing the facts and law specific to each commuter train and subway accident.

The early morning train crash left four killed and at least 60 or more injured when a speeding Metro North train derailed on the Hudson Line at 7:20 AM in the Bronx just North of Spuyten Duyvil station. The train crashed as it was speeding at 82 m.p.h. after it left Poughkeepsie at 6:45 AM traveling to Grand Central along the Hudson River. Metro North has a history of Commuter Trains traveling in excess speed and derailing. The derailed train was traveling 82 m.p.h in a 30 m.p.h. zone around a curve forcing the railcars off the tracks killing four and injuring dozens more. The accident was avoidable, existing technology and safety standards employing automatic brakes using GPS, Cameras and radio devices. Federal regulations set for December, 2015 require sophisticated automatic braking systems and safety monitoring devices. The railroad industry has balked at the cost of the new regulations totaling millions, and are currently lobbying to push back the compliance date to December, 2018. Conductor William Rockerfeller “zoned out” as the train barrelled down a dangerous curve at 52 m.p.h. over the speed limit. Data from the on board black box recording system indicate brakes were applied late and the train had no hope of making it around the narrow bend. The crash occurred in an area known for accidents and dangerous track conditions. The conductor should have obeyed the speed limits and beared caution to the area’s devious name, Spuyten Duyvil, Dutch for the Spitting Devil. It is the region where the Harlem River meets the Hudson River, known for harsh winds, unpredictable water currents and poor visibility. The crash occurred on a sharp curve just north of the Henry Hudson Bridge along the riverbank.

First responders arrived on the scene to sift through the torn wreckage using hydraulic equipment and search dogs. The NTSB (National Transit Safety Board) is investigating Metro North for other accidents and disasters on its three lines – the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven lines. Safety records reveal horrible results for Metro North. The lax safety at Metro North led to the death of four innocent commuters. Other commuters sustained multiple injuries, and potentially PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Our New York personal injury lawyers have experience handling accident cases and represent personal injury and wrongful death victims.

Recent Data shows that MTA Metro North safety is substandard and negligent. Recent disasters prove Metro North’s awful track record. On September 25, 2013, a feeder cable in Mount Vernon, N.Y., failed, knocking out power for 12 days to the New Haven line, which carries 132,000 commuters daily. On July 18, 2013, ten freight train cars hauling garbage derailed on the Hudson Line right across from the December 1, 2013 crash site, suspending service. This July accident occurred in the same Spuyten Duyvil segment of track. On May 28, 2013 track foreman Robert Luden was struck and killed by a passenger train in West Haven, Conn. The National Transportation Safety Board investigation revealed human error caused the accident. On May 17, 2013, an eastbound train derailed in Bridgeport, Conn., after it was struck head-on by a westbound train. The accident injured 73 passengers, two engineers and a conductor.

According to a Federal Railroad Administration database accidents this year are on the rise and injuries from accidents are up dramatically this year. Metro North train accidents peaked at 40 in 2006, but fell to 15 in 2010 and only six in 2012. Through August, the railroad had six train accidents, matching last year’s total. Train accident injuries on Metro North are far higher this year than any of the past 10. Through August, a total of 123 people were hurt in train accidents. The highest annual number in the past decade was seven in 2007. Train accidents on Metro North caused by human factors such as negligence are on the rise. Metro North train mishaps caused by motive power or equipment are also persistent. Sunday December 1st 2013 is a day of sorrow for the victims of Metro North crash and of disasters in recent years.

Trains traveling at extremely high speeds are dangerous to those on board and the public at large. If the trains are full of passengers it increases their momentum. When this momentum is added to the already high speed that Metro North’s trains travel on the outdated rail lines, they are harder to stop and pose a threat to commuters and communities. Fatal train accidents continue to occur, even though NTSB and other agencies investigations reveal MTA and Metro North wrongdoing. Adequate warnings like curve warning signs and bridge warnings, flashing lights and even painting the rails signs bright colors such as orange or yellow would decrease the amount of accidents and improve safety. Questions still linger how the train full of passengers was able to speed off the rails without any safety mechanism to prevent the crash.

If you were injured in a commuter train or subway accident in New York City (Five Boroughs), Westchester (including White Plains, Yonkers, Ossining, Mt. Vernon, Pleasantville, Port Chester, New Rochelle, Scarsdale, Mamaroneck, or Rye), Rockland, Orange, Putnam and Dutchess Counties, contact our office today for a free consultation. Our New York train accident lawyers express our sincerest sympathies for all of the personal injury victims and the families of those who were hurt or killed on Dec. 1, 2013.

 
The Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph