NTSB says MTSB train crash preventable

Legal news for Massachusetts personal injury lawyers.

NTSB findings state Boston’s Green Line fatal train crash was preventable.

Boston, MA–The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) http://www.ntsb.gov released their findings of the fatal Boston Green Line crash which occurred in May 2008. NTSB investigators stated the fatal train collision could have been avoided if the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) train had an automated train control system in place, as reported by the Boston Herald. NTSB officials investigating the May 28, 2008, crash concluded that installing an automated or positive train control system, on the Green Line, would be beneficial if it could prevent accidents, loss of lives, and injuries.

Executives and managers of the MBTA stated it would be difficult to install the automated control system due to the high volume of trolleys using the underground tunnels. But installation of the safety system on the MBTA trains would be worth it if it could prevent future accidents. The MBTA recently began testing such safety systems, but the tests have not resulted in adequate assurance that accidents will be prevented. For example, one of the tested MBTA safety systems, which are currently used in the Metro transportation system in Washington, D.C., did not prevent the tragic train crash that killed nine people last month. The Boston Green Line accident also provided guidance for state and federal officials to implement minimum construction standards and guidelines of rail cars to ensure the safety and crashworthiness. The damage to the rail cars in the 2008 crash was estimated at $8.6 million.

NTSB investigators also found the operator, who was killed in the accident, Ter’rese Edmonds, was at a high risk of an undiagnosed sleep disorder called sleep apnea. Investigators suspect Edmonds may have fallen asleep while operating the train, which would have prevented her from pressing the brakes before rear-ending another trolley. The NTSB found the MBTA lacked an appropriate fatigue awareness program and screenings to detect sleep apnea in employees. Toxicology screenings conducted on Edmonds showed the operator was not under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol at the time of the fatal train crash. The screenings did produce results stating Edmonds had a presence of Doxylamine, which is regularly found in over-the-counter sleep aids. Although the drug may not have contributed directly to the crash, it can often leave people who take it sluggish the next day for several hours.

Legal news reports for Massachusetts personal injury lawyers.

About the Author Justice Seeker

Heather L. Ryan, R.N., C.L.N.C- Heather Ryan is a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant with 15 years of experience in the health care industry. Her expertise in reviewing medical records and assisting lawyers with the determination as to whether legal action should be taken provides an invaluable asset to the newsroom. Medical-malpractice, products liability, personal injury and workers’ compensation are some of the recent areas of litigation Ms. Ryan has focused her efforts on. A member of the Florida Justice Association, Heather maintains a long list of certifications and credentials to support her areas of expertise and stays up-to-date with her clinical knowledge working as an emergency room/trauma nurse, at a Level 1, Adult/Pediatric trauma and teaching institution in South Florida.