Train Accidents: Trained for Rescue

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The protocol was followed. When a passenger train broke down near Brentwood, Arkansas in October, a second train was sent out to provide assistance. The location of the broken down train was communicated, and it should have been as simple as responding to the situation and making sure everyone was safe. After all, the company had a plan in place to handle situations just like this.

Fact is, It wasn’t that simple. The second train, having either received improper coordinates or through negligence on the part of the driver, rear-ended the already broken-down train. There’s no way to know precisely what went wrong. What we do know is that both trains derailed, and 34 people were injured in the disaster, five critically.

Accidents like these are some of the most tragic because they are entirely preventable. There was no reason the passengers needed to be put at risk during the rescue. Train accidents have notoriously terrible injuries associated with them because of the sheer weight of the steel and the speed of the engines. Neck and back injuries are frequently the best case scenario, as death and amputation are not uncommon.

There were so many moments along the way where things could have gone differently. The train company could have:

  • Double-checked they were sending the correct location for the rescue train
  • Ordered the rescue train proceed under caution at very slow speeds
  • Evacuated the broken-down train, so even if the collision occurred there would have been no injuries

The last of these should have been the most obvious, and the fact that train companies do not put the safety of their passengers first is an appalling thought. Then again, there is no real reason for them to put passengers in front of profit unless someone gives them a reason. All too often companies get off with a slap on the wrist from a regulatory agency which provides little reason to change. If you or a loved one has been injured in a train accident, your actions for justice could be the reason for change. Contact a qualified attorney to help you force the change that is needed.