Philadelphia Train Accident Lawyers Discuss Delay in Train Safety Technology

November 23, 2015

Congress recently passed a bill that delays the installation and implementation of Positive Train Control technology (PTC) that is expected to soon be signed into law by President Obama. The law will extend the deadline for PTC compliance from December 2015 to December 2018, with two year extensions available beyond the deadline on an as-needed basis. The PTC utilizes GPS technology, radio waves and computer systems to monitor the locations of trains and automatically slow or stop those that are traveling in excess speeds or headed for collisions or derailment.

The PTC is currently required for all railroad tracks that carry passenger and freight trains transporting toxic substances. Mandated installation of the PTC system began in 2008, however, problems with establishing technology standards and acquiring the necessary radio spectrums forced many to delay installation. Railroads worried about being fined for missing the upcoming deadline of December 2015 and lobbied lawmakers to change the law to extend the deadline. Both the House and the Senate approved the bill and anticipate President Obama’s approval in the very near future.

The PTC technology is designed to avoid deadly accidents like the one that happened in May 2015 in Philadelphia when an Amtrak train traveling from Washington, DC to New York City derailed, fatally injuring eight people and injuring over 200 more, including 11 critically injured. Investigators determined that the train was traveling at 102 miles per hour in a 50 mile per hour zone when it crashed. The PTC technology would not have allowed the train to operate at that speed, automatically slowing the train and possibly saving the lives of all those on board.

The PTC technology was developed seven years ago following a deadly train wreck in California that killed 25 people and injured 100 more passengers. Investigators on the scene claimed that the conductor operating the train was distracted and missed warning signals that could have prevented the wreck. PTC technology prohibits conductors from ignoring warning signals by automatically slowing or stopping the train if the signals are not effective.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported 300 deaths and 6,700 injuries in 145 train accidents since the PTC program was initiated over seven years ago. Full installation and implementation of the PTC technology is imperative to avoiding future train accidents, injuries and deaths, with railroads working together to ensure this happens. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority recently received a loan of $967.1 million from the Federal Railroad Administration to help it reach the December 2018 deadline for full installation and implementation of the PTC system. Amtrak said they anticipated meeting the December 2015 deadline, but were hampered by Metropolitan’s Metro-North line that had an incomplete 56 mile stretch of track between New York and Connecticut.

Philadelphia Train Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Represent Victims Injured or Killed in Train Accidents

If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a train accident, the experienced team of Philadelphia train accident lawyers at DiTomaso Law can help you claim the compensation you may be entitled to receive. Serious and often fatal injuries occur when trains traveling at high speeds derail or collide with another train. Medical and hospital bills, ongoing physical or cognitive therapy, and lost wages due to disability from injuries sustained in the train accident can deplete the financial wealth of the victim and their family. Our Philadelphia train accident attorneys can ensure that your rights are protected and help you claim the maximum compensation available.

Call us at 856-414-0010 or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation today. Our firm serves clients throughout the Philadelphia area including Center City Philadelphia and South Jersey in Mount Holly, Burlington County, Camden County, and Cherry Hill.