Could Positive Train Control Have Prevented New York Train Derailment?

Last Sunday morning a New York commuter train bound for Manhattan’s Grand Central Station derailed on a sharp curve killing 4 innocent people, critically injuring 11 people and injuring another 46 passengers. While the NTSB is still investigating the accident, early information indicates the train was traveling 82 mph on a curve with a maximum speed limit of 30 mph. 

While this investigation continues, it appears this tragedy could have been prevented by Positive Train Control. Positive Train Control can slow or stop a train before certain accidents occur. One type of accident that Positive Train Control is designed to prevent is speed-related derailments. Other types of accidents that can be prevented by Positive Train Control are switching errors, collisions, and track route errors. 

We first told you about Positive Train Control in this post and on the Law Offices of John Day website.   Federal law requires railroad companies to implement Positive Train Control by 2015, but a push is on to extend that date to 2018 or later. To stop these preventable types of accidents, we hope Congress will refuse to grant an extension for this important safety technology that can save lives.