Train Accident Causes
Train crashes or derailments can injure or kill many passengers. Millions take the Amtrak, commuter rail, subways and other passenger trains every day. However, they are unaware of the dangers. Often train or railroad accidents happen from negligence. Bad track conditions that aren’t repaired, equipment left on the rails, speeding or distracted or tired engineers cause many accidents. These mistakes can have devastating not just for passengers but innocent bystanders, too. Nearly 1,000 people are killed each year.
There are a multitude of train accident causes. The most common are negligence, human error, mechanical failure, not obeying speed limits, defective tracks, derailments and reckless drivers.
Railroad negligence can happen in a variety of ways. The fault could be with the company itself or the conductor. One careless mistake could injure many like failing to turn on a signal light. Plus, many railways and trains still use archaic technology. By the end of 2018, Congress decreed that Class I main lines had to implement a new system called Positive Train Control (PTC). However, two-thirds of U.S. commuter railroads failed to meet the deadline.
People make mistakes. Yet, inexperience and lack of adequate training can be a recipe for disaster. Fatigue is a huge issue as well. Engineers cannot operate a train safely if tried. Engineers can only work 8 hours before rest. However, schedules could fluctuate between morning, day and afternoon shifts.
Mechanical failure is rare, but it does happen. Sometimes a rail switch or safety equipment fails. Then, a crash happens. Other times the train goes too quickly. The faster the train the higher chances of a crash or derailment. A derailment happens when a train runs off the rail. This can happen due to mechanical track failure, conductor error, broken rails or defective wheels.