Amtrak Train Derailment Kills 8, Injures Hundreds – Could It Have Been Prevented?

One of the deadliest train derailments since 2000 happened in Philadelphia on May 12, 2015. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Amtrak train was traveling over twice the speed limit allowed for that portion of the track. The engineer lost consciousness after the crash and has no memory of any events whatsoever after attempting to reduce the speed coming into the curve (where the derailment occurred).

It has not yet been determined whether the train’s speed was caused by human or mechanical error. However, as with any mode of transportation, adequate inspection and repair are essential. Another available safety measure was the automated speed control system called positive train control that could have overridden human errors and slowed the train. Even though Amtrak, as well as the nation’s other railroads, were ordered by Congress in 2008 to adopt positive train control by December 2015, such safety device had not yet been installed in that stretch of track. Had it been, this accident would not have occurred according to an NTSB board member.

Often safety measures and devices are available for use and implementation to protect the general public but are not utilized by those entrusted with such protection.

Benny Agosto, Jr. is a partner at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner in Houston, Texas. For over 65 years, Abraham Watkins has successfully represented injured people and families who fall victim to catastrophes. Our attorneys have the knowledge, experience and resources necessary to obtain just compensation their clients. For more information, please contact the office of Benny Agosto, Jr. at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, by letter at 800 Commerce Street, Houston, Texas 77002, or by phone at (713) 222-7211.