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Recent Train Derailments Prompts New Safety Advisory

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A federal safety advisory released June 9 stated that commuter railroads, including Metro trains that carry commuters in the Washington, DC metro area, should learn early lessons from the catastrophic Amtrak derailment last month.

The federal advisory panel strongly recommended that commuter train authorities in cities around the US make automatic-braking fixes as soon as possible. The panel said that if that cannot be done, another operator should be added to each engine, or to boost on board communication so engineers are less likely to break speed limits.

This advisory was issued by the Federal Railroad Authority, at a time when most commuter railroads say they cannot make Congress’s 2015 deadline for using more advanced automatic braking.

An American Public Transportation Association survey found this year that only 30% of all commuter rail agencies said that they can make the deadline by the end of the year. Freight railroad companies states they can only finish installation in 18% of trains. This makes things more complex because many commuter trains use the same tracks as freight trains.

The commuter trains in Maryland and Virginia will not have the new braking systems installed in time.

The advisory comes a month after the Amtrak crash that killed at least a dozen people. After the accident, there was an emergency order for Amtrak to make immediate safety enhancements. They were ordered to identify the places on the track where the speed limit coming into the curve is more than 20 MPH more than the speed limit on the curve. This new system should prevent trains from going into a turn too fast, which is what seems to have caused the crash in Philadelphia.

Our personal injury law firm has significant experience with train crash derailment settlements. One of our attorneys secured a large $60 million structured settlement, where a worker suffered severe brain injuries from a Norfolk Southern train derailment. If your loved ones are ever injured in such a tragedy, make certain that you work with a highly experienced personal injury lawyer who is familiar with these complicated lawsuits.

Randy E. Appleton
Virginia Beach & Norfolk Personal Injury Lawyer
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