Here’s something that may shock even the most jaded New Yorker: The train that derailed on December 1st had an automatic braking system that most likely could have prevented the crash– if it wasn’t disabled.
The Associated Press tells us that the officials at NYC’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority believe that it is up to the engineer to use proper speeds. Apparently, no room for error is allowed for an engineer– although they are human.
The tune has changed quickly since the December 1st derailment of the Metro-North Railroad commuter train that killed four people and injured 60 more. MTA has now altered the signaling system so that the alarm helps to avoid collisions as well as excess speeds around curves.
It seems hard to believe that the officials responsible for transporting millions of people a year were satisfied with the “If it ain’t broke, don’t use the available safety features.” mentality. The spokesperson for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority confidently supported this decision with the assertion that, “We operated trains for 30 years and 11 months without a fatality.”
William Rockefeller admits to exhaustion and inattentiveness while handling the train that fatal day, and while that doesn’t excuse him at all, he merely succumbed to being human. Powerful machinery is equipped with safety mechanisms to compensate for human error, and a tragic situation could have been avoided with a few adjustments.
The December 1st crash has opened eyes– upgraded control systems to prevent collisions and high speeds are now mandatory in every U.S. railroad by 2015.
Should the engineer should be fully blamed for the December 1st crisis although all available safety features were not used? Let us know what you think.