Last week, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a national warning regarding the use of audio frequency track circuits in train control systems. The warning comes as the NTSB continues its investigation into the fatal train collision in Washington, D.C. Metro crash.
Audio frequency track circuits are used to detect and transmit speed commands. The circuits are composed of two modules that contain a track frequency transmitter and receiver. The modules mounted on rails inside train control rooms at each station. The NTSB found that an “unintended signal path was created between track circuit modules that resulted in the associated track relay remaining energized,” meaning that no signal was sent indicating a train was on the track.
Train accidents of any kind often cause catastrophic injuries or death to its passengers. There are specific state and federal laws, such as common carrier laws, that govern train accidents. An experienced Chicago train accident lawyer has a thorough understanding of both state and federal laws, and can help you recover appropriate damages.
The NTSB recommends that the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) require regulators and workers to examine track circuits and work with signal equipment suppliers to resolve any issues that jeopardize the safety of the circuits, and thus the safety of transit passengers. The NTSB also recommends the development of programs that will ensure train control systems are performing correctly.
Although the NTSB has not completed its investigation of the D.C. Metro crash, hopefully those involved in rail transportation that millions depend on, will heed the warning and immediately address safety glitches the NTSB identified, which could prevent another catastrophic train accident on our nation’s transit or rail system.
To speak with an experienced train crash injury lawyer in Chicago, call Passen & Powell at (312) 527-4500 for a free consultation. Our attorneys would be happy to answer any questions you may have.