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Leading Causes of Train Accidents

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In the United States, train accidents are not unheard of. These accidents are horrible most of the times, killing hundreds of people and injuring several. These are caused due to human errors, mechanical problems or both. Here are some common causes of train accidents:

  • Train derailment
  • Negligence of train conductor
  • Defective equipments
  • Failure in proper maintenance of train tracks
  • Collapse of bridges
  • Damaged train crossings
  • Colliding with another train coming from the opposite direction
  • Colliding with a truck, bus or car while crossing the tracks

In February of 2015, oil train derailment in West Virginia caused to spill about 400,000 gallons of oil and forced evacuations of 1000 people. In May of the same year, derailment of Amtrak 188 claimed 188 lives and injured 200 people. According to investigations after train accidents, it has been found that human errors and speed are the commonest causes of train accidents throughout the USA.

Let us now discuss about different common causes of rail accidents in details.

Human Errors

Unfortunately, human error has always been found to be the leading cause of train accident.  It is an umbrella term that includes the follows:

  • Distracted attention
  • Excessive speed
  • Failure to apply brake in time

The devastating accident involving Amtrak 188 was caused due to driver’s distraction. Distracted attention of the engineers could also cause terrifying accidents but would not have caused devastation on such a massive scale. Furthermore, engineers’ distraction would not have caused derailment of vehicles.

In 2007 alone, human errors caused more than 1000 train accidents in the US. It is still high in the country. The problem should be addressed immediately with stringent actions against the at-fault drivers and/or engineers.

Defective Tracks & Railbeds

The train tracks and railroads measure over 140,000 miles throughout the USA. Bad condition of the railroads and tracks also contributes to train derailments. Over the last decade, Class I Freight Railroads have dispensed away with in excess of $200 billion to better the network condition. Broken tracks and rails account for over 25 percent of all train derailment incidents.

Rail accidents owing to track issues have been almost halved in 2015. That significant decrease in the number of accidents can be contributed to concerted efforts put by many organizations to deal with the issues and prevent the accidents from happening at all.

Mechanical Faults

Though not a major cause of train accident, mechanical faults also play a crucial role in such mishaps. More than 10 percent of car accidents are caused due to mechanical failure. The trains must be regularly maintained to make sure that they are in good condition. Without routine maintenance, it is less likely to notice an issue and that failure could lead to heinous accident.

Train Accidents & Liabilities

Several persons may be held responsible for train accidents. Even the company owning and operating the train could be held liable in the event of an accident. The accidents cause loss of lives, injuries, wage loss, pain, suffering, medical expenses and other costs. There are train accident lawyers to guide the victims or their families how to file a complaint against the at-fault authority or person.