Train-related accidents — collisions, explosions, derailments and other mishaps — “occur in the United States approximately every 90 seconds.”
That quote comes from the Train Accidents page of our website at the Southern California-based Law Offices of Fred D. Crawford, IV, and we believe its inclusion at the outset of today’s blog post is both timely and relevant, given recent developments in the railroad industry.
Those are of course most centrally marked by the horrific train derailment that occurred just last month in Philadelphia, when a commuter train lost control as it reportedly tried to negotiate a curve while hurtling down the tracks at more than 100 miles per hour. Eight people were killed in that accident, with non-fatal passenger injuries tallying more than 200.
Echoes of a similar and even more deadly crash still distinctly resonate from Chatsworth, the San Fernando Valley town where a collision in 2008 took the lives of 25 people.
Indeed, national legislators acted in the wake of that California train accident by passing legislation requiring the nation’s commuter train lines to install so-called Positive Train Control technology to curb speed-related crashes.
The U.S. Congress put a deadline on that for full implementation by all affected carriers: December 31 of this year.
Will it be met?
Although safety regulators from the National Transportation Safety Board are adamantly insisting that full compliance be a reality by that date, industry principals are balking and offering up reasons why the due date simply cannot be met. Most centrally, they say, the cost is staggeringly high, with, moreover, more time being needed to iron out complexities inhering with the technology.
It is estimated that more than 70 percent of affected railroad companies will not have PTC technology installed by the end of the year.