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After Metro North Train Accident, Big Push To Make Trains Safer

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

The attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy, LLP, are carefully watching the aftermath of the Metro North derailment. Below, you will see a piece on how the derailment may lead to safety changes. When you see safety changes, the initial instinct is to question why these measures were not in place before the derailment. However, you also must be grateful that the public transportation system is using advanced technology that may avoid these massive accidents and increase the efficiency of accident investigation and reconstruction. Progress usually saves lives.

In the wake of last month’s deadly train derailment on a Metro North rail line after the train operator fell asleep or was fatigued while behind the controls of a packed commuter train, New York lawmakers are pushing for the federal government to require more safety equipment. In particular, video cameras that monitor train crews inside the control cab and the tracks outside could soon be standard equipment on all US locomotives. The expectation is that this feature could prevent future train accidents. It would also allow for very clear evidence of what a crew was doing beforehand in the event of an accident.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has taken a major step toward requiring inward and outward-facing cameras on all trains. These cameras will help prevent the widespread behavior that occurs on rail lines across the country. For example, damning recent disclosures about the Long Island Rail Road included some 900 rule infractions over the last five years. These violations included cavalier and reckless things like texting and playing games while operating the trains and even letting passengers take controls. Metro North and the Long Island Railroad have neither inward nor outward-facing cameras to protect the millions of people who commute by rail into Manhattan.

Cameras are not a new idea. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended them in 2008 after a passenger train and freight train collided in California, killing 25 people. Unfortunately the recommendation was not put into effect. NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman last month was quoted as saying, “In an era where the average citizen has a device in their pocket capable of recording audio and video, installing cameras in locomotives for accident investigation and prevention purposes simply moves railroad industry into the 21st century.” The FRA has now begun the rule-making process that after several months could make the cameras mandatory.

Whenever a train is involved in a accident there is a great likelihood that people can be seriously injured, if not killed, due to the inherent dangers associated with these large, heavy, fast moving forms of transportation. If you or a loved one have been involved in a train accident, you need an experienced lawyer.

After train accidents, victims will find many lawyers interested in representing them; few will have the experience and track record of success in handling serious train collisions. Block O’Toole & Murphy, one of New York’s premier personal injury law firms, has a long history of helping the seriously injured. Our verdicts and settlements – – including more than $700,000,000 in results for injured clients – – speak volumes about the tenacity and commitment of our personal injury trial lawyers.

If you would like to learn more about the firm and our significant recoveries for our clients go to For a free consultation, you may call the trial lawyers of Block O’Toole & Murphy at 212-736-5300.


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