A panel of five on the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that faulty brakes and an inattentive driver were the probable cause of an accident involving a truck and an Amtrak train which killed six last year out west. The truck driver, train conductor, and four passengers died while more than a dozen others suffered injuries in the accident.
The accident’s exact cause is not known, but the trucking company did not properly maintain the braking system and as a result, 11 of the 16 brake drums were worn beyond the recommended limits, contributing to the disaster. The panel also found that the passenger car walls weak structure also likely contributed to the devastation caused. They have recommended new strength standards to be implemented as a result.
The truck driver would not necessarily have been aware of the faulty brakes unless he had been required to quickly stop prior to the incident. In this instance, he began breaking roughly 300 feet prior to the train track crossing and slid the length of a football field directly into the train’s side. Had the brakes been properly maintained, it is believed that the truck would have stopped 70 feet short of the crossing even going the 77 miles per hour that it was travelling at.
If the driver had applied the brakes 1.4 seconds prior to when he actually did, the accident also could have been avoided even with the faulty brakes. 1.4 seconds is how quickly lives can change. There are now multiple lawsuits following the crash brought on by both the injured parties and the deceased’s families.
It is always a tragedy when an accident occurs, especially when injuries result from such misfortunes. An attorney experienced in dealing with personal injuries can assist in helping to determine the best course of action when faced with such tragedy.
Source: Belleville News Democrat, “Bad truck brakes blamed for Nevada Amtrak crash,” Scott Sonner, Dec. 11, 2012