Railroad Companies Face Scrutiny from the NTSB after Fatal Train Accident

The extreme tragic nature of the Sept. 12, 2008 collision between a Metrolink commuter train and a Union Pacific freight train has put railroad transportation under even more scrutiny by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The NTSB is responsible for spearheading investigations of major transportation accidents, and has been urging California Railroad Companies to adopt stricter safety systems for years.

The September 2008 Metrolink crash was the deadliest railroad accident in the United States in 15 years and the second fatal railroad accident linked to Railroad Companies’ refusal to enforce the safety systems outlined by the NTSB. According to reports written by the NTSB, failure to follow the safety systems designed for safer railway travel also played a significant role in the April 23, 2002, Placentia train collision.

Order Bars Train Operators from Using Cell Phones

California’s Pubic Utilities Commission (PUC) passed an emergency order that bars the use of cell phones and other electronic devices by engineers operating trains in the state of California. The order follows the September 2008 Los Angeles train crash, in which the Metrolink engineer, Robert Sanchez, failed to stop at a red light signal, causing the train to crash into a freight train.

The Metrolink has blamed Sanchez, who died in the accident, for failing to stop at the light. Investigators proved the signal was working as normal at the time of the accident. They believe he may not have seen the signal because he was sending a text message.

Although investigators have not found Sanchez’ cell phone in the wreckage, two of his friends told reporters that Sanchez sent them a text message moments before the accident.

NTSB Had Urged Cell Phone Ban Years Ago

The NTSB tried to get the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to regulate the use of cell phones in 2003 following a fatal train accident in Texas that was also proven to be linked to the engineer’s cell phone use.

The FRA, stated, however, that such limits are not necessary because most railroad companies already have cell phone bans in place. While Metrolink does prohibit the use of cell phones on the job, the rules are often ignored.

Aitken * Aitken * Cohn Fights for Safer Railroad Travel

The personal injury lawyers at Aitken * Aitken * Cohn were proud to be the lead litigation against Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway and Metrolink as a result of the Placentia train collision in 2003.

They have first-hand experience in fighting for the rights of railroad passengers that have been physically and emotionally injured in traumatic train accidents and urge railroad companies to adopt and enforce the safety measures recommended by the NTSB.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a railroad accident, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Aitken * Aitken * Cohn today for a free consultation.