Millions of Americans rely on commuter rail, subways, and light rail for their daily commute, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Unfortunately, train accidents can and do happen, often times resulting in serious injuries and even death. In fact, in the past two years, the NTSB has opened investigations into accidents involving MTA Metro-North Railroad, Chicago Transit Authority, and the Bay Area Rapid Transit.
Given the recent spate of train accidents, some federal agencies and lawmakers are calling for certain actions to improve train safety. For instance, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) no longer exempt commuter railroads from individual inspections of their most highly used tracks.
Although the FRA requires commuter railroads, such as Metra, to inspect each track at least once every two weeks, some railroads are allowed to inspect multiple adjacent tracks simultaneously on high-volume routes. According to Safety & Health Magazine, NTSB claims that multi-track inspections can cause inspectors to miss defects, which could then result in train accidents.
The NTSB also issued specific recommendations to New York-based Metro-North Railroad. According to Safety & Health Magazine, an NTSB preliminary report issued in June 2013 concluded that Metro-North inspectors failed to spot defects during a multi-track inspection that took place on May 15, 2013 – just two days before a derailment and collision killed four people and injured more than 50.
Additionally, two senators from the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee have urged the Department of Transportation (DOT) to increase safety resources provided to short-line railroads – many of which move shipments of hazardous materials to larger railroads.
Safety & Health Magazine reports that, in a letter to Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) stated that short-line railroads receive fewer federal resources, including funding for emergency response training, than larger railroads that make up the majority of the U.S. freight network.
The senators are seeking DOT support for the creation of a Short Line Railroad Safety Institute, which would provide resources to short-line railroads on incident prevention and emergency response. The Institute has already received the support of the FRA and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.
Contact an Illinois Mass Transit Accident Lawyer
The Chicago train accident lawyers at Ankin Law Office, LLC support measures aimed at increased train and railroad safety. We are committed to helping the victims of train accidents, bus accidents, and other mass transit accidents obtain full and fair financial recovery. Train crashes and other mass transit accidents often involve complex issues regarding liability, and there may be multiple possible defendants. Moreover, because mass transit accidents frequently involve a large number of victims, a class action lawsuit may be appropriate to settle issues of liability and damages. Accordingly, it is important to consult with an attorney who focuses on complex accident and injury cases, as well as class action lawsuits.
If you have been injured in a train accident, do not hesitate to contact Ankin Law Office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago mass transit accident lawyers.