Train Derailment in Chicago – How Safe is Our Public Transportation System?

train-station-1250938A Chicago Transit Authority Red Line train traveling south near the Granville stop at Broadway derailed around 2:00 pm on Halloween today in Chicago. Hundreds of passengers were stranded for over an hour until power was shut off. All passengers were eventually evacuated and escorted to safety. Fortunately, it seems no serious injuries or deaths occurred in this derailment. According to a local news source, only one person was transported to the hospital with a shoulder injury.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis, over 900 train derailments have occurred in the United States so far this year. Over 550 deaths and almost 6,000 serious injuries have been reported due to train accidents and incidents in 2015.

Derailments happen far too often and usually lead to serious injuries and deaths due to the lack of seat belts and other safety features missing on trains. Train derailment led to the deadly Santiago de Compostela train disaster that killed almost 80 people and injured over 150 in Spain. The data recorder proved that the high speed train derailed because the train was traveling twice the posted speed limit of 80 km per hour (50 mph) when it was entering a curve in the track. Conductor error is one of the most preventable causes of train accidents and train derailments.

Chicago History of Train Problems

Just two years ago in Chicago, over 30 passengers were injured and taken to nine area hospitals when two trains running on the Chicago Transit Authority’s Blue Line tracks collided head-on.

These incidents are examples of how important safety is when it comes to public transportation. Millions of people in the United States rely on trains to commute every day. Recent increases in the enforcement of rules and regulations have not prevented the ever-increasing rise in the number of train accidents.

Many of these accidents are caused by negligent conductors. Several other sources leading to train accidents include not only derailment but collisions, track and equipment failures including wheels, defects in signals and gates, but most importantly, human error. Distracted and reckless driving is perhaps the most preventable of all causes of train accidents.

Conduct An Immediate Investigation To Prevent the Destruction of Vital Evidence

When train crashes occur, it’s important to conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the accident as soon as possible after the accident and before vital evidence is compromised. Often times when accidents occur, finger-pointing follows. From the manufacturer and installer of the rails, wheels, signals, gates and communication system to the driver, supervisor and data recorder, an investigation is necessary to secure vital evidence and witness testimony before evidence is lost and memories fade.

Immediately following accidents like the ones described above, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) takes over the investigation. The first thing NTSB investigators will try to establish is whether the signal system was working at the time of the accident. The second thing NTSB investigators investigate is whether there were any mechanical issues involved. The last thing NTSB investigators look into is operations.

It is important to conduct a complete and thorough investigation into all causes of an accident or derailment concurrently and in cooperation with NTSB investigators before evidence and testimony becomes stale or compromised. As human error is often the cause of train accidents and derailments, the statement from the conductor and the readings from the data recorder should be investigated before signal system and mechanical failure.

Have You Been Seriously Injured From a Train Accident Caused by Negligent Driving?

If you have been seriously injured or know someone who lost a loved one, it is important to contact a lawyer experienced and knowledgable in train accidents. Moll Law Group has successfully represented people nationwide who were seriously injured and the families who lost a loved one due to defective products, negligent conduct and accidents. There is a very short time limitation of one year to file a lawsuit against the CTA like the one that occurred today. Don’t miss the opportunity to have your case evaluated before it is too late. Call us at 312-462-1700 or visit us online for a free consultation.

See More Posts:

Girl Sues After Suffering a Serious Injury While Boarding a Chicago Bus, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, October 22, 2015.

Six-Vehicle Chain-Reaction Accident Caused When Semi-Truck Rear-Ends Van, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, October 20, 2015.

Fatal O’Fallon Truck Accident May Have Been Caused by Medical Emergency, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, October 18, 2015.