Many railroads still unable to install technology before deadline

A train accident can reap incredible devastation. When a train goes off the tracks or collides with another vehicle, the damage caused will likely be extensive. Worst of all, train accidents can cause many people to suffer serious or fatal injuries.

So, in an effort to decrease the likelihood of such catastrophes, the federal government is requiring that railroad companies adapt a prescribed safety technology. Unfortunately, implementation of this technology is advancing at a disappointingly slow pace.

If this story sounds familiar, it should. Just over a year ago on this blog, we reported how it was expected that many railroads would be unable to meet deadlines for installing Positive Train Control. At this point, it is anticipated that a mere 29 percent of the country's commuter railroads will meet the Dec. 31, 2015 deadline.

At present, the Federal Railroad Administration believes that by 2020, all commuter lines will finally be outfitted with PTC. Different reasons have been given for the delay, including the system's cost of installation.

The intended purpose of PTC is to prevent train collisions and to keep trains from traveling at excessive speeds. The National Transportation Safety Board reports that if PTC had been implemented, more than 7,000 injuries and 300 fatalities could have been avoided in the past 46 years.

We can all hope that the railroad companies will overcome their difficulties and get PTC fully installed as soon as possible. But for the time being, many of the trains will continue to travel using a level of technology that has been unable to prevent far too many train accidents.

If you or a family member should suffer an injury due to a train accident, you may wish to consult with a California personal injury attorney. The attorney may be able to help you get due compensation to help cover medical expenses.

Source: The Boston Globe, "Most railroads won't meet safety deadlines, report says," Ron Nixon, Aug. 8, 2015

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