What you should know about Pennsylvania train and railroad safety
Two lethal passenger train accidents near Philadelphia in less than a year have sparked significant safety concerns. The most recent incident happened in April. In that case, two track workers perished when an Amtrak train hit construction equipment on the tracks. The collision also injured more than 30 people on the train. In May 2015, a speeding Amtrak train flew off the rails resulting in multiple fatalities and injuring at least 200 people.
Train engineers and conductors are no different than other professionals tasked with the safe transportation of goods and passengers. Whenever a catastrophic accident occurs, the media, authorities and general public scrutinize the train crew’s behavior and actions. Every detail, including their background and training is subject to critical review. Pennsylvania law mandates that all railroad companies provide comprehensive training for all engineers and conductors running trains in the state. It also stipulates that engineers pass all applicable exams before they are promoted to those positions. Upon promotion, it is up to each engineer and his or her crew to follow all relevant rules and regulations, thereby ensuring the safe operation of the train.
The fact remains that there are hundreds of working railroad companies and endless miles of tracks crisscross the United States. So even the best training and full compliance with the rules can’t prevent all accidents. In fact, federal agencies that track the mishaps estimate there are at least 2,500 train accidents in the United States each year. These typically include derailments, collisions with objects or people on the tracks and collisions at railroad crossings.
According to initial estimates compiled by federal agencies for 2014 and 2015, there were more than 4,000 collisions between trains and vehicles at public and private crossings throughout the United States. Those collisions resulted in approximately 508 deaths and 1,828 injuries. Pennsylvania statistics for 2014 show that trains and vehicles collided 44 times, causing six deaths. Three of the people killed in those crashes were in passenger cars and three were in light trucks.
Once you board a train, your fate is literally in someone else’s hands. But there are other circumstances in which you can reduce the odds of being involved in a train accident. For pedestrians the best way to avoid being hit by a train is to keep off the tracks. If you must negotiate them, do so only at designated pedestrian crossings. Motorists should remember that trains always have the right of way. Finally, because of a train’s sheer size and weight, it is impossible for an engineer to avoid hitting someone or something on the tracks.
McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC: Experienced Philadelphia Train Accident Lawyers
If you are hurt in a train accident near Philadelphia, it is important to speak with an established Philadelphia personal injury lawyer who can assess the circumstances of your case. At McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC, our lawyers have a long history of success fighting for injured victims. You can schedule a free consultation with us by calling 215-569-8488, 302-888-1221 or submitting a request online.