Archive for the ‘fatal train derailment’ tag

Undiagnosed Sleep Disorder Blamed in Fatal Train Derailment

December 5th, 2014 at 7:00 am

fatal train derailment, Westport wrongful death attorney, fatal accident, train accidents, sleep disorders, derailed train, undiagnosed sleep disorder

A report issued by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has determined the cause of last year’s fatal New York City train derailment: the train engineer fell asleep due to an undiagnosed sleep disorder.

The fatal accident occurred on an early Sunday morning last December. The Manhattan-bound Metro-North commuter train was going 50 miles per hour over the speed limit—more than three times the allowed speed—when it went around a curve and suddenly derailed. Four of the 115 people on board the train were killed in the accident and another 67 people were injured. The locomotive and all seven of the passenger cars jumped the tracks, causing approximately $9 million worth of damage.

According to the NTSB’s report, the train engineer suffered from sleep apnea, which causes the airways to become obstructed or collapse during sleep and can cause sufferers to struggle with drowsiness.

In the engineer’s case, the disorder had never been diagnosed and he was unaware that he suffered from the problem. The report pointed out that the railroad had no policy in place to screen employees for sleep disorders. Compounding the engineer’s condition was a sudden change in his work schedule, having been moved to an early morning work shift just prior to the train crash.

Additionally, Senator Richard Blumenthal noted how the NTSB report showed “the cascading catastrophes over a single year illustrating the urgent need for dramatic upgrades and improvements in safety and reliability.” In fact, positive train control, a specific technology that was not in use during the time of the derailment, can “automatically bring a train to a stop” if speeding.

Statics from the Federal Railroad Administration show that there are more than 3,000 train accidents every year causing deaths, injuries, and property damage. Not only are passengers at risk for death and injury for many preventable train accidents, but railroad employees are particularly vulnerable in these incidents.

If you have lost a family member in an accident caused by the negligence of someone else, contact an experienced Westport wrongful death attorney today to find out what legal compensation you may be entitled to for pain or loss.

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