Recent accidents highlight danger of rail accidents in NYC

New York's mass transit system has been the subject of much recent news. New data from New York's Mass Transit Authority suggests that 3.4 billion riders use New York City's subways and buses every year. Governor Andrew Cuomo recently proposed spending $5 billion for 27 mass transit projects around the city, including flood prevention for the subway system and a Metro-North Railroad spur on Manhattan's west side. A recent blog on the Huffington Post proclaimed that "Almost Everything in NYC Depends on Mass Transit" while noting that the MTA's budget received "devastating" cutbacks in 2010 from which it has not recovered.

Rail transportation has also been in the news recently for several high-profile accidents. The National Transportation Safety Board has released its report on the Metro-North accident in the Bronx last December. It found that the operator of the train suffered from "severe sleep apnea" and had antihistamine in his system that causes drowsiness. The NTSB also issued a preliminary report of an electrician for Metro-North who was killed while working on northbound train Number 897 in Manhattan.

The National Transportation Safety Board has investigated five incidents of derailment or fatality involving rail transportation in the last six months. According to Hearst Connecticut Media, during 2013, federal inspectors noted over 1,000 defects during 500 inspections of the Metro-North system. Among their findings, federal regulators found that some tracks were not inspected according to regulations and that some operators were not following hours-of-service regulations intended to prevent operator fatigue.

New Jersey has also begun a $467,673 dollar investigation on the safety of rail transportation in the state after NTSB investigations revealed the lack of safety measures Metro-North has in place. "Operation Deep Dive" is an internal review by New Jersey Transit of Metro-North operations and will last for 90 days.

Other recent accidents in Manhattan involving mass transit have also demonstrated the potential dangers of rail travel. On the Upper East Side in April, a pedestrian was struck and killed around 2 a.m. Another man was killed near Soho just after 3 a.m. while walking between cars on the Q train. On April 21, a 64 year-old man was killed while trying to retrieve a piece of jewelry from the tracks.

An attorney can help

Rail and transit accidents can be devastating. The nature of derailments and mass transit accidents mean that there is a great likelihood for fatalities and severe injuries. Injured victims and their families may be able to obtain legal help with recovery and other money damages associated with a mass transit accident. Injured riders should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss their legal options.