NTSB Blames CTA For Oversights In Last Year’s Blue Line Derailment

 

It’s been over a year since a CTA blue line train derailed in the early morning hours at O’Hare airport. The train flew off the tracks and up an escalator, injuring several passengers. Luckily there were no fatalities. It was reported multiple times that the conductor may have dozed off to sleep immediately prior to the train crash.

In response last week the National Traffic Safety Board (“NTSB”) held meetings in Washington D.C. to try and find some resolution as to what would cause the train to derail in such a manner. As the Chicago Sun-Times reported this week, the NTSB blamed the CTA for failing to prevent employee fatigue that they said was a factor in last year’s Blue Line crash. “The layers of protection designed to protect such an accident failed,” said Christopher Hart, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. The conductor was allegedly working her 12th straight day on the date of the train accident.

The investigators found that the conductor was suffering from “sleep debt” and was impaired by fatigue because of several factors.  “Chicago Transit Authority failed to effectively manage the operator’s work schedule to mitigate the risk of fatigue,” the NTSB said. Federal investigators recommended the Federal Transit Administration develop work scheduling programs that take into account the science of fatigue and include evaluation of the risks of fatigue. The federal agency found Haywood “was likely sleep-deprived,” though a CTA spokesman on Tuesday said she was not “exhausted.”

The NTSB also issued several other recommendations, including that the CTA install a transmission-based control system on all routes; such a system would automatically brake in times of emergency. The agency’s recommendation was extended to all transit agencies in the U.S. The agency also wants upgraded “event recorders” on each CTA car; those devices save certain information, such as the position of the controls that investigators might want to know after an accident.

The investigation also showed the middle track did not appear to have been originally intended to be used for arriving trains but had become commonly used for that purpose. That center track’s design, the NTSB found, “was not adequate to prevent a train from striking the bumping post near the end of the track.”

In summery, it is the NTSB’s opinion that the CTA should have worked out a better schedule to prevent an employee from working 12 straight days, which would have prevented a fatigued conductor behind the train’s wheels at the time of the accident. They also believed there could be a better safety brake system, which would have stopped the train on time and prevented it from derailing. The NTSB basically proved the injured passengers case for their attorneys as there were multiple items that could have prevented this accident. Again, we are lucky that no one died from this accident, but those who were injured should see compensation from the CTA for their medical bills, treatment, pain and suffering and lost wages as they were obviously at fault for this train accident.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a CTA bus accident or CTA train accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

NTSB Reports That Blue Line Train Traveled Too Fast For Emergency Brake

The Chicago Tribune reported today that the National Traffic
Safety Board (“NTSB”) concluded that the CTA Blue Line crash at O’Hare airport was driving too fast for the emergency brake to properly
trigger and prevent the train accident. The NTSB’s preliminary report into the cause of the early-morning accident on March
24 said the distance between a bumper post at the end of the line and a trip
arm in the tracks designed to activate the train’s emergency braking system was
“too short to stop the train” due to its speed of roughly 26 mph.

Asked
why the CTA had not set a slower speed limit in the tunnel leading to the
station, or positioned the emergency-stop device further out from the platforms
where trains berth, safety board spokesman Terry Williams said “those questions
are part of our investigation and some of the issues we are looking into.’’

The CTA
two weeks ago lowered the speed limit of trains entering the O’Hare station
from 25 mph to 15 mph and moved the fixed trip arm further away from the bumper
post, to provide a total of 61 feet in stopping distance.

For
those following this case it appears that the CTA will be on the hook for
passenger injuries based on, at least, three main factors. First, the train operator
admitted she nodded off immediately prior to the train crash and the CTA is
responsible for the negligent acts of their employees. Second, the train
operator was driving the blue line at too high of a speed, which did not allow
the emergency brake to properly trigger. Again, the CTA is responsible for negligent
acts of its employees. Third, they set the speed limit too high for the
emergency brake to properly stop incoming trains. These are three allegations that can be made and seem the most obvious from the media reports, but as the investigation continues, there will likely be more allegations of negligence by the CTA. 

Although
this train accident was terrible and people were injured, I think there are some
positives that can come from this. First, no one died. This derailment and
crash was brutal as the video shows and the fact that there were no deaths and
few critical injuries is a minor miracle. Second, the CTA can now make the
proper corrections to its emergency braking system, which will hopefully
prevent this from happening again.

If you
or someone you love has been injured in a CTA train accident, Chicago busaccident or Chicago car crash, then call Chicago personal injury attorney,
Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Train Operator Involved In Blue Line Crash Fired By The CTA

The CTA Blue Line crash which occurred last Monday at O’Hare airport has been all over the news the last few weeks. One area of contention that I discussed earlier this week was the condition of the train operator at the time of the train accident. There were conflicting reports on how many hours she had worked in the days prior to the crash. The operator freely admitted to National Traffic Safety Board (“NTSB”) that she had dozed off prior to the crash and that she had also nodded off to sleep back while working back in February. Well, the New York Daily News is reporting today that the train operator has been fired. It is unclear whether this will affect the lawsuits that have been filed against the CTA on behalf of some of the injured passengers. The NTSB is also awaiting investigation results on why the emergency braking systems did not stop the train immediately prior to the accident. I’m sure there will be more news to report in the weeks to come on this always changing case.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago train accident, Chicago bus accident or Chicago car crash, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 773-456-8858.

Four CTA Employees Suspended After Derailment

A weekend train derailment has led to the suspension of four CTA employees. Chicago Breaking News reported the story after a Green Line train derailment over the weekend, transit officials said today, pointing to a missed “stop” signal as the probable cause of the accident.

The front wheels on the first car of the six-car northbound train jumped the tracks at the 59th Street junction shortly before noon Saturday, said CTA spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney.

The train remained upright on the “L” tracks. It was operating as a shuttle covering  part of the normal route, with one train operator in the first car and another in the sixth car, because of track construction, officials said.

“The investigation is still under way, but the preliminary indication is human error,” Gaffney said. “The equipment — signals, train and track — all appeared to be working properly.”

Investigators determined that the train operator disobeyed a “stop” signal and caused the derailment by driving the train over a track switch that was not aligned for the train to pass safely,  said CTA sources close to the investigation.

After the first car derailed, the train operator in the sixth car powered up the train and pulled it back in the other direction, apparently in  a bid to fix the problem, investigators said.

Click here to read the full story.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an Illinois car accident, Illinois truck accident or CTA accident then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.