Recent Train Accidents Keep NTSB Busy

Since the end of 2016, there have been multiple train accidents resulting in fatalities, several of which have included Amtrak passenger trains.

• In December 2017 an Amtrak train derailed and fell off a bridge near Tacoma, Washington resulting in three deaths and 72 injuries. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that the train was traveling at a speed of 80 mph on a 30-mph section of track.

• In February 2018 an Amtrak train carrying members of Congress to a legislative retreat in West Virginia hit a garbage truck as it tried to cross the tracks. A passenger in the truck was killed and the driver was seriously injured.

• Also in February, an Amtrak train crashed into a parked and unmanned CSX train in South Carolina resulting in the death of two people and injuring 116 others.


Train Accident Data

According to the NTSB, there are about 3,000 train accidents every year, resulting in around 1,000 deaths. Casualties can include train passengers and employees, pedestrians and bystanders who may be on or near the tracks, drivers and passengers of vehicles trying to cross railroad tracks, and railroad workers.

The train-to-car crashes common at railroad crossings can occur due to a number of reasons, including defective signals or gates, train drivers not sounding the horn when approaching a crossing, stalled vehicles, drivers attempting to beat a train when traveling through a crossing, and objects protruding from trains. Derailments are another major cause of train accidents, and according to the Federal Railroad Administration, over half of all derailments are caused by one of these 10 reasons:

  • Broken rails or welds
  • Track geometry
  • Bearing failure
  • Broken wheels
  • Train handling
  • Wide gauge (rails too far apart)
  • Obstructions
  • Buckled track
  • Train-to-train interaction
  • Other axle/journal defects


Positive Train Control

One particular technology developed to reduce train accident frequency is called Positive Train Control (PTC). While it is designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, excessive speed derailments, and unauthorized train movement, unfortunately it still cannot prevent accidents caused by track or equipment failure, vehicles bypassing crossing gates, trespassing, and train operator error.

Your Legal Rights

If you or a family member has been the victim of a train accident, then you should know all of your options. Studies show most Americans who are injured or have had a family member die in a train crash do not file a lawsuit - the lawsuit that could ultimately provide the money needed to cover medical expenses and lost wages.

We know the ins and outs of train accident lawsuits, and we are here to help. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.