Mass Transit Safety and California Train Accidents

Mass transit offers an affordable and environmentally-friendly alternative to America’s love affair with cars. In order to make mass transit a viable option, we must also make mass transit safety a priority. The Brod Law Firm supports general policy efforts to make mass transit safer. Additionally, our Northern California mass transit attorney represents individuals and families in the wake of train accidents and other transit tragedies. We believe this work not only compensates the injured and/or grieving but also encourages all involved to prioritize safety in the future.

Two Train Fatalities on Same Day in Bay Area
Monday saw two separate train fatalities in the Bay Area. Per a San Francisco Chronicle report, an Amtrak train travelling from Sacramento to San Jose struck and killed a person who was allegedly trespassing on the tracks in Albany at 2:10 P.M. Later that afternoon, also per the San Francisco Chronicle, a Caltrain struck and killed a pedestrian. The second incident occurred in southeastern San Jose between the Blossom Hill and Morgan Hill stops along Monterey Highway. It was the fourth pedestrian accident involving Caltrain in a little more than one week’s time. Notably, about 90% of Caltrain fatalities are later ruled suicides. Authorities have yet to determine a cause in either of Monday’s incidents.

NTSB on Mass Transit Safety Mass transit safety is one of the items on the National Transportation Safety Board’s (“NTSB”) ‘Most Wanted List’ for 2015. The NTSB cites an American Public Transportation Association study that found the role of mass transit is growing at a faster rate than population growth or growth in highway travel. Residents of and workers in major metropolitan areas are particularly likely to rely on mass transit. The Metro-North Railroad in the New York to Connecticut corridor saw five accidents that claimed six lives and left 126 injured between May 2013 and March 2014. A single crash involving two Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority trains in June 2009 killed 8 and injured 52.

Certainly, the rails are not the only potentially dangerous form of mass transit. The NTSB includes subways, light rails, commuter rails, buses, streetcars, and ferries under the mass transit heading. One example of a non-rail transit tragedy is the January 2013 ferry accident that injured 80 in New York Harbor.

The NTSB suggests that monitoring transit safety is essential to preventing disasters and keeping small problems from becoming big ones. As a general matter, the NTSB states that all facets of the category could benefit from stronger organizational safety cultures. The agency calls on all involved to work to make travel safer, a commitment that encompasses working to both identify and mitigate safety risks. Communication is one of the most important tools the industry can use to accomplish this end. Understanding the role of human error and developing an appreciation for the role of modern technologies (ex. positive train control, video data recorders) are also critical elements in any successful safety endeavor. The NTSB further recommends that safety efforts be deployed in accordance with research into safety trends.

A California Attorney for Mass Transit Accidents If a train accident in San Francisco or another form of Northern California mass transit accident leaves you injured or grieving, call our firm. As a skilled and experienced San Francisco train lawyer, Attorney Brod can help you recover compensation and help prevent the same tragedy from occurring in the future.

See Related Blog Posts:

Fatal Crash Involving Train, SUV in Oakland Adds Another Grim Statistic for 2014
Death of Teen on Railroad Tracks in San Leandro Points to Disturbing Trend