Positive Train Control (PTC) Could Have Prevented Amtrak Tragedy

An Amtrak train derailment along the extremely busy "Northeast Corridor" killed eight people and injured more than 200 others. It has been reported that the train was traveling at 106 miles per hour when it went around a sharp turn. With technology that is now available, this tragedy could have been prevented. "Positive Train Control" (PTC) is designed to automatically slow or stop a train. Most of the Northeast Corridor already had PTC in place, but unfortunately, the stretch of track where the accident occurred did not and the result was catastrophic. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has repeatedly stressed the importance of these safety technologies with regard to commuter trains. In fact, the NTSB views positive train control as one of the top ten most important transportation safety issues in the country.

There were 1,241 train derailments in the United States last year. Following is a statement from the President of the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP): "Amtraks Northeast corridor -the busiest rail carrier in the western hemisphere-faces a $52 billion maintenance backlog that is hindering the efficient movement of trains, the average age of Amtrak's equipment is 28 years old, and its fleet is rapidly aging beyond its usable lifespan."

How Positive Train Control Works:

Positive train control systems help manage train separation distances, speed, and collision avoidance. These systems monitor:

  • Weather
  • Geography
  • GPS Location
  • Load Balancing
  • Speed Monitoring and Control
  • Brake Pressure Monitoring
  • Forecasting of Maintenance and Parts

Injuries from Train Accidents:

Passenger trains travel at high speeds and they lack protections for passengers. The injuries from a train accident can be catastrophic or fatal. If the railway owner or train operator fails to provide a high standard of care and the result is an injury to a passenger, the injured passenger can seek compensation for medical expenses, lost income, future medical expenses, and pain and suffering.

Reasons for Train Accidents:

Train accidents can also involve other vehicles or pedestrians. Accidents commonly occur at railroad crossings. Occasionally, trains collide with other trains. Another scenario is a pedestrian falling onto railroad platforms. Any of the above-mentioned scenarios can lead to catastrophic injuries or death. Train accidents can occur due to:

  • Negligence of a train operator or employee
  • Mechanical failure
  • Outdated train tracks
  • Errors in manufacturing
  • Unsafe design
  • Obstructions in the railroad

Personal Injury Attorneys in Sarasota:

If you have been injured in a train accident, bus accident, motorcycle accident or car accident, or if you are an injured pedestrian, please contact Michael L. Morgan Law Group, P.A., at (941) 218-8220. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there is no cost to you unless we recover on your behalf. Please call us to schedule a free consultation.