This blog has reported frequently on the problems that Metro North, the New York City commuter train line that runs north into Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties and Connecticut. However, New York is not the only city that experiences commuter rail accidents. In the last week of February, a Los Angeles-bound train hit a produce truck stopped on the tracks near Oxnard. This occurred only three weeks after a fiery metro-North crash killed six people in the Bronx.
Many Injuries, No Deaths
About 50 people were injured, some of them critically. After the accident, the driver of the truck, who was apparently injured, left the scene of the crash and began walking. He was found disoriented about two miles away from the accident site. Although he was not arrested at the time, police were investigating both the truck driver and the engineer to determine if wrongdoing was the cause of the crash.
The accident overturned three double-decker rail cars. Two more derailed.
The impact ripped the truck in two and left smouldering wreckage scattered across the site.
Without Safety Features, Accident Would Have Been Much Worse
Early reports indicated that the truck driver had become stuck on the tracks after taking a wrong turn in the early morning hours on Tuesday. Although the train was traveling at 79 miles per hour as it approach the stalled truck, the emergency braking system and the impact-absorbing safety features lessened the severity of the crash.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), 817 people died in railroad-related deaths in 2014. Most of the incidents reported involved pedestrians and vehicles stuck on railroad tracks. Others, however, like the recent Metro-North crash, killed passengers and crew.