As the investigation continues into the fatal train derailment incident that occurred in the Bronx, New York, more information is beginning to be released regarding all the factors that may have contributed to the accident. Two days after the incident, authorities and representatives with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority indicated that human error on the part of the train conductor could have played a major role in the derailment. If negligence and/or error are linked to the fatal crash, personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits may be filed on behalf of the victims and their families.
The train involved in the fatal derailment accident was approaching the Spuyten Duyvil station when the incident occurred. It’s reported that the train entered a turn at excessive speeds, which allegedly caused the train to derail. Now, authorities are investigating why the locomotive was going 82 mph in a 30 mph zone.
Following the incident, officials confirmed that the brakes on the train functioned correctly prior to the incident. However, the train conductor initially claimed that the brakes had malfunctioned. As a result, the conductor’s state of consciousness prior to the incident is being investigated. Multiple sources claim that the conductor confessed to dozing off before the crash. If that is the case, the question over why safety features installed on the train failed still remains.
A device known as a dead man’s pedal was allegedly installed on the train. Authorities had yet to determine whether or not the device was triggered before the crash. The tragic train accident may also raise questions over why a safety system known as positive train control technology has not been fully integrated into railroad operations.
According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the train conductor involved in the incident is on unpaid leave.
Source: CNN, “Train engineer ‘was nodding off and caught himself too late,’ union rep says,” Shimon Prokupecz, Mike Ahlers, Ray Sanchez, Dec. 3, 2013