An investigation into a deadly train crash near New York City has shown that the train was traveling within the speed limit recommended for that area at the time of the accident. A mother of three stopped her car on the level crossing and was killed, along with five passengers, when the train struck her SUV and the electrified third rail bent up, sparking a huge explosion and fire. Investigators also said that problems did not seem to exist with the signals or the barrier, which is designed to give way easily if someone becomes stranded on the tracks.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, which took place at Valhalla, about 20 miles from the city. An eyewitness reported that the driver, Ellen Brody, got out of her car to inspect the damage done when the gate came down on the back of her vehicle. She then returned to the car, drove forward and rolled directly into the path of the oncoming train.
The train was found to have been traveling at 58 miles per hour when it struck the vehicle. The speed limit on that section of the track is 60 miles per hour.
The crash caused six deaths and 15 injuries.
Responsibility in Rail Accidents
While it is certainly everyone’s job to be vigilant when driving, some organizations or entities have a greater degree of responsibility for keeping other drivers safe than the average motorist. This includes government agencies, who are responsible for ensuring that traffic signals, signage and road conditions are safe for drivers. It also includes railroads, who have a responsibility to maintain safe crossings and to monitor train conductor activity to ensure that risks for passengers and other motorists are reduced to the greatest extent possible.
Rail companies often use the latest technology to ensure that busy railroad crossings are made safe for motorists. This includes flashing lights, drop gates and other features. However, if those features fail to work, or if a conductor is traveling too fast for conditions, the railroad may still be held liable for resulting injuries.
If you have been the victim of any type of accident, it is important to protect your rights. Contact the Fitzgerald Law Firm in New York today for more information on filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering and other costs.