Subway Accidents: Insanity Is...

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Albert Einstein is quoted as saying that insanity was “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If this is true, then some of those in charge of the subway system in bigger cities should be investigated.

Five years after a terrible crash on the Red Line, the DC Metro plans to again begin implementing computer driven trains. These were considered both cost-effective and time-effective when they were first introduced, and the Metro is always trying to cut costs while still delivering effective services.

Increasing efficiency is an excellent goal, and the Metro should be applauded for trying to save its users both time and money. But efficiency should never come before safety, as seems to be the case here. After all, it was only five years ago that flaws in the computer system led to a terrible tragedy.

Riders are assured that the new system is safe, but they were assured the last system was safe as well. There are still many things that could go wrong, even with the supposed redundancies in the system, including:

  • Improper brake sensors causing a train to slow down too suddenly or not fast enough
  • Miscalculated distances between the computer-controlled train and other trains, leading to collisions
  • Complacency in employees leading to no one noticing significant blockages on the track

Computers have had marvelous effects on many aspects of our modern lives, but they are not foolproof. In our own day-to-day experiences, our computers crash or otherwise malfunction all too often. Trusting these same devices to manage train traffic seems incredibly brave or downright insane.

Obviously humans are not perfect either, and many subway accidents have been caused either by driver error or improper maintenance. But having so many of these trains, both in DC and elsewhere, controlled by computers could be a recipe for disaster. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a subway accident, whether the subway is computer controlled or not, it is important that you know your rights. Please contact an experienced attorney to help you explore your options so you can begin healing.