When an Amtrak train derailed in Washington State on December 18th, 2017, civilians and government officials immediately began to wonder what went wrong. A local mayor went on the record, saying he expected something to go wrong with that stretch of line. Whenever a train derailment occurs, there are many possible explanations, from mechanical problems to driver error. Determining the cause is important in limiting the likelihood of a similar event occurring in the future.
As more and more details emerged, it became clear there was not a single cause for this accident. The driver of the train had taken the turn at too high of a speed, with some reports indicating the train attempted to manage the curve at nearly one hundred miles per hour, three times the safe speed. This was the immediate cause of the accident, but there was more to the situation than just one driver.
A report on January 2nd, 2018 indicates the curve where the incident occurred had long ago been identified as potentially dangerous. Requiring drivers to slow from normal operating speed to approximately thirty miles per hour was always a recipe for disaster. But those in charge at Amtrak continually deprioritized improvements to the line.
Now, three people are dead and many more injured, and the answer as to why is that a curve in the track previously identified as treacherous was navigated at an unsafe speed. The fact the deadly curve was not redesigned, nor were engineers carefully instructed to be absolutely certain to decelerate to a safe speed, is completely unacceptable. In this situation, safety was clearly not a priority.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a train accident, accidents such as this illustrate that the people in charge are not always putting safety first. Please, consult with an experienced attorney who can help you hold them accountable for their actions, and can help you push for the necessary changes to make these forms of transportation safer.