A sad train accident in Spain earlier this summer proved to be the worst rail accident in that country in decades, killing 79 people and injuring many more when it crashed into a wall and spun off the tracks. The driver of the train was on the phone, taking a call from a rail employee and missed the mark on applying the brakes until it was too late. The brakes were applied seconds before the crash occurred when it slammed into a concrete wall causing several of the cars to catch on fire. Generally, the brakes should have been applied a few miles before that part of the track, slowing it down to 50 mile per hours, instead of the 95 miles an hour it was travelling at the time of the crash.
Distractions come in all forms, and drivers of your everyday automobile are not the only ones at fault. We’ve seen plane crashes, train derailments, subway accidents, and boating accidents that occurred as a result of texting, answering the phones, and calling our attention elsewhere—everywhere other than where it is supposed to be. High-speed vehicles like trains and planes have personnel on the ground and in booths helping them foresee what lies ahead and communicating with them on a regular basis to avoid accidents and impending hazardous conditions. As a result, there may be time where the driver finds that it may be safe to take a call, answer a text, or get up out of the driver’s seat. We can’t know what lies ahead, so we rely on the drivers of these vehicles to take us where we need to go in a safe manner.
When you are a passenger on a train or plane, here are some ways you can advocate for your own safety. While you may not be tuned in the entire time, any time you sense that the speed of the vehicle is inappropriate, make a call to a 9-1-1 center and report the problem. Stay in your seat at all times. If you see that the driver or pilot is engaging in inappropriate activity, report it to another figure who has authority on that journey.
If you have been injured or know someone who has been injured or died as a result of a train accident, the personal injury case could take years to settle depending on the number of other victims, location of crash, history of the driver, and other factors. Seeking the advice of an attorney in New York who specializes in personal injury cases is your first step.