Engineer in Fatal Accident Diagnosed with Sleep Apnea

Riding the train in New York is such a commonplace activity that few people give it a second thought. To many, the process is so automatic that it seems as if the trains are propelled by their own volition. Of course, this isn’t true. The Metro-North train accident that happened back in December in the Bronx was a reminder to all of us that human error has the potential to lead to catastrophe.

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Four people were killed when the train went off the rails; another five dozen were injured. Investigators said that the Hudson Line train failed to slow down as it was going around a curve. At that spot, trains are supposed to slow down to around 30 miles per hour. However, investigators estimated that the derailed train was hurtling down the tracks at more than 80 mph.

It turns out that the engineer at the controls has sleep apnea — a condition that was not diagnosed until after the accident. In addition, the engineer had recently changed his hours from late night to early morning shifts.

Shortly after the accident, the engineer told investigators that he felt fine on the day of the accident; at some point, however, he reported feeling dazed. He also said that he had not taken any illegal drugs prior to the crash.

Tragic accidents such as this one often generate more questions than answers. Attorneys who are experienced in mass transit accidents can be valuable resources for people who are hurt in such accidents.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Metro-North Engineer Was ‘Dazed’ Before Derailment,” Andrew Tangel, April 7, 2014

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