New York City, NY – Top attorney, handles MTA, bus accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, doctor errors, airline injuries & death, & construction cases. Attorney Jonathan C. Reiter consistently delivers results.
For people who live in busy urban areas like New York City and the surrounding major cities, rail travel is often the fastest and most affordable way to commute to work or into the city. However, a number of high profile derailments have occurred in recent years. Understandably, many people worry that trains have become more dangerous.
How Many People Travel by Train?
According to a Washington Post report, Amtrak is the busiest passenger train company in the United States, with about 11.6 million riders in the Northeast region alone — a figure that makes up around one-third of all rail travel in the country. Across the U.S., there are about 31.2 million train passengers each year.
While the U.S. doesn’t have the robust rail systems often found in European countries and parts of Asia, experts say that rail travel in this country is undergoing something of a renaissance.
The number of Amtrak riders increased by 55 percent between 1997 and 2012. Among all passengers, 88 percent start or stop their journey in one of 100 of the country’s largest metropolitan areas.
Experts say the number of rail passengers is only likely to increase. While fuel prices fluctuate and have been down in recent years, the cost of fuel is a significant factor in many people’s decision to commute by train.
Additionally, owning a car can be a major hassle in the country’s largest cities. Many train passengers say they can also shorten their commute by traveling by rail rather than dealing with traffic jams that can last for hours during rush hour.
How Often Do Train Derailments Happen?
Compared to previous decades, the number of train derailments has actually decreased. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, there were about 31 train derailments per year over the past 10-year period.
By contrast, there were 54 train derailments on average per year in the decade immediately preceding the most recent one.
However, rail safety experts say it’s important to consider all of the facts when you look at these figures. Although the number of trail derailments has gone down, the number of people injured during derailments has increased.
Of course, car travel remains the most dangerous form of travel statistically. While there were over 32,700 fatalities in cars in 2013, there were 891 railway deaths the same year.
Top Causes of Train Accidents
When most people think of a train accident, they likely picture a derailment. This thought process is understandable, as these cases frequently involve many cars jumping the tracks, which can lead to a high number of fatalities and serious injuries.
However, there are many different reasons why train accidents happen.
- Train Employee Negligence – This category of train accidents can encompass a wide range of negligence. In recent years, a number of serious train accidents have occurred because the train’s conductor was either fatigued, sleep-deprived or not paying attention. Train employee negligence can also happen when a conductor travels at an excessive speed or fails to slow down as the train approaches a curve.
- Derailments – Train derailments involve a train car or multiple cars jumping the tracks. If this happens during high speeds, the accident and injuries can be catastrophic.
- Bad Track Maintenance – Just as potholes and debris on the highway can cause a car accident, poor track maintenance can lead to a serious railway accident.
- Collision with Another Train – It’s rare for a train to collide with another train, but these accidents can and do happen. These types of disasters occur more frequently in subway accidents, where it’s common for many trains to run regular routes in close proximity to each other. In 2008, for example, a train operator working for California’s Metrolink caused a head-on collision with a freight train because he was text messaging and missed a red signal requiring him to stop. The accident resulted in 25 deaths and over 100 injuries.
- Collapsed Bridges – Bridge collapses or structural problems on a bridge can lead to a train accident if the train is en route and the operator is either unaware of the danger or too close to the bridge to make an appropriate stop.
- Collision with a Car on the Tracks – Train accidents can also occur when a vehicle is parked or stuck on the tracks at a rail crossing. There have been many serious accidents caused by motorists attempting to cross tracks or failing to slow down as a train approaches. In Nevada in 2011, six people were killed, and 16 were injured when a commercial truck struck an Amtrak train at a crossing. According to the investigative report, the truck driver was inattentive and didn’t attempt to brake until he was 300 feet from the crossing.
If you have been injured in a train accident in New York City or the surrounding areas, it’s important to work with a mass transit accident lawyer who understands these cases. You have important rights. Your lawyer can help you protect them.
NYC Accident Attorney Jonathan C. Reiter – (T): 212-736-0979
Prior results cannot and do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future case. Recoveries always depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case, the injuries suffered, damages incurred, and the responsibility of those involved.